Twenty Cypriot Covid-19 patients have been included in a global clinical trial of Japanese antiviral influenza drug Avigan (favipiravir), the health ministry said on Tuesday.
The trial will assess Avigan’s safety and efficacy as a potential Covid-19 treatment.
Quoting Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, the Japan Times said 20 countries would be receiving the drug, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Iran, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
An additional 30 countries have showed interest, according to Motegi.
Avigan is approved for manufacture and sale in Japan as an influenza antiviral.
It selectively inhibits the RNA polymerase of the influenza virus, an enzyme required for viral replication once human host cells are infected.
Covid-19 also uses this enzyme to replicate and is classified into the same type of single-stranded RNA virus as influenza.
Chinese authorities said the drug, manufactured by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, had helped patients recover during a trial in Shenzhen city.
According to the study, the drug was able to shorten the recovery time from 11 days to four days for mild and moderate cases.