Estonia became the first country in the world to receive the medicine Avigan, the active pharmaceutical ingredient of which is favipiravir, which can potentially be used in the treatment of the illness caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus. The drug is received as a trial, and Estonia, which is one of 80 countries requesting it from Japan, is obliged to share the results of the trial with the Japanese authorities.
The Japanese government has handed a batch of the medicine Avigan, which is to arrive in Estonia this week, to the Estonian embassy in Tokyo, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Avigan is an experimental antiviral drug which is being used to treat influenza in Japan, but it has also been studied to treat other viral infections. The drug was approved for medical use in Japan in 2014.
Favipiravir was discovered in 1998 by Yousuke Furuta, and is manufactured by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical.
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Estonian Agency of Medicines (Raviamet) have explored possibilities for obtaining Avigan, participating in the study of the product and its potential use in the treatment of COVID-19.
More than 80 countries have asked Japan for supplies of Avigan. The drug meant for human trials was issued by Japan to Estonia for free in the framework of international cooperation. Estonia is obliged to share the results of the trials with Japan.
Editor: Anders Nõmm