Favipiravir Tablets : Is it effective against COVID-19?

Favipiravir Tablets : Is it effective against COVID-19?

Favipiravir is derived from pyrazinecarboxamide, which used to treat RNA viruses. It is also known as 5-fluoro-2-oxo-1H-pyrazine-3-carboxamide.  Molecular formulae of this compound are C5H4FN3O2.

Favipiravir is an antiviral medication discovered for the treatment of influenza in Japan. Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. was the first company that discovered this compound. This is a modified version of pyrazine analog.

This molecule previously investigated for the treatment of various pandemic such as the Ebola virus, Lassa Virus. Now it is time for the investigation on COVID 19 treatment.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has launched this molecule under the brand name FabiFlu. They started to promote it for mild to moderate COVID 19. Other big players such as Cipla and Hetero are going to launch under the brand names Cipremi and Covifor.

There is no authentic evidence that a particular drug is effective, we will only know in future weather it can treat COVID 19 or not. According to the experts, this drug will help to reduce the symptoms. But It is not a game-changer till yet.

The FDA approved this drug as an emergency use authorization for the investigation of COVID 19 treatment in the adult and children who are hospitalized with severe disease.

In clinical trials, it has found short term recovery in some patients.

What is Favipiravir?

What is Favipiravir?

Favipiravir is a derivative of pyrazinecarboxamide, that is used to treat novel influenza rather than seasonal influenza. It inhibits the RNA polymerase of RNA dependent viruses.

It is an oral medication, which is important for viral replication. This drug has shown positive outcomes in COVID-19 patients with improving lungs condition.

The studies on Flavipiravir antiviral tablets are going on in several countries including China, the US, and India.

As per the reports, it is effective against various range of RNA viruses. On the other hand, it can cause teratogenicity & embryotoxicity. The Ministry of Health regulation has issued strict rules for the manufacturing and marketing of this drug.

It was the modification of pyrazine analog that was initially screened by in vitro anti-influenza virus activity in the cells. It is effective against all the stations of the influenza virus, even for those who are neuraminidase and M2 inhibitor.

Favipiravir 200mg Tablets

Favipiravir 200mg tablets are the first oral tablets introduced for the treatment of COVID 19. As per the Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, this drug is will be effective in mild to moderate COVID 19.

This is the oral medication, which will help to reduce the viral load in the patient. Its efficacy is not well known yet, but it is believed that it would be a Game changer dor the patient of the corona.

This antiviral drug has launched under the brand name FabiFlu at the price of Rs 103/tabltes.

It is a perceptional based oral medication and the daily recommended dose would be 1800mg twice in a day for the COVID 19. It has been claimed that this drug can show effectiveness within 4 days.

COVID-19 Sign and Symptoms

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a SARS-CoV-2. Many patients are of COVID-19 experience mild to moderate respiratory tract infections. Older people with cardiac disorders, diabetes, and respiratory tract infection are more prone to serious illness.

The COVID-19 virus spreads through droplets of saliva when an infected person coughs. It can affect the respiratory tract.

The main symptoms include

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Body Aches
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

You should immediately call for medical help if you find these symptoms in any person.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Unable to wake up fresh
  • Bluish lips or face

Pathophysiology of COVID-19

Pathophysiology of COVID-19 

 

Coronaviruses belong to the family of RNA viruses. Orthocoronavirus subfamily is responsible for human disease. The SARS-CoV-2 is identified similarly to beta coronavirus.

It is made up of four major proteins structure the spike protein, the nucleocapsid protein, membrane protein, and the envelope protein.

The spike protein binds with the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2 inhibitor) and enter the human body. Once it enters the host cells results in the fusion of the cell membrane.

The ACE 2 receptor presents in the epithelial tissues of the lungs, heart, kidney, and GIT tract. The SARS-CoV-2 starts binding with the epithelial tissues of the lungs because of the larger surface area. Viral RNA  enters the nucleus and start replication, which is used to make viral proteins.

These viral proteins play an important role in making new viruses. These viruses move to the T-cells. People with coronavirus infection reported with low T-cells.

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Mechanism of Favipiravir

Mechanism of Favipiravir

The mechanism of actions of this drug is really needed to understand. This drug molecule is the selective inhibition of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. According to the research,  this drug induces lethal RNA transversion mutations. It inhibits the RNA polymerase and stops making the viral RNA replication.

Favipiravir is a prodrug that is available in both oral and intravenous forms. HGPRT is well known to play a major role in this activation process of this drug.

These drug molecules do not interfere with RNA or DNA synthesis in human cells and is not toxic to them. In 2014, favipiravir was introduced in Japan for the treatment of the influenza pandemic.

However, favipiravir is effective against RNA virus, so it is believed that it can be used for the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a broad-spectrum antiviral drug.

Favipiravir Studies for COVID 19

In February 2020, favipiravir was introduced for a clinical trial in China for the treatment of the emergent COVID-19. The clinical trial also started in Japan.

A study on 80 people has done, in comparison to other antiviral drugs including lopinavir and ritonavir. it was found that it can reduce the viral clearance time and that 90% of people got benefits from this drug.

The drug has approved for the use of clinical trials in many countries where the pandemic is at the 3rd stage including China, Russia, India, and Japan.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has launched this molecule under the brand name FabiFlu. They started to promote it for mild to moderate COVID 19. Other big players such as Cipla and Hetero are going to launch under the brand names Cipremi and Covifor.

The pharmaceutical companies claimed it as the Game Changer over the COVID 19, but according to the statement of a few medical experts, it is just something that is better than nothing.

There is no doubt it is a positive step but this time there is no authentic evidence is available that can assure its effectiveness against COVID-19.

Favipiravir is a prodrug and it can go under ribosylation and phosphorylation intracellularly. It functions as inhibits the RNA dependent RNA polymerase, which finally prevents viral transcription and replication.

Side Effects of Flavipiravir

There is no study on the major side effects of this drug. It is prohibited in pregnancy. It can harm the baby.

Other Sign and Symptoms include

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting

Conclusion

Favipiravir tablets are introduced in 2014 for the treatment of the influenza pandemic in Japan. Now, it is approved for the clinical trial for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. This drug comes very recently in the market.

There is no authentic data is available for the study of this drug. It is under the study period only. So we would suggest do not purchase this drug without the consulting doctor.

There is not available any information about drug interaction. If you experience any major side effects, check with your doctor immediately.

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