June 1, 2020 / Holly Ellyatt
Russia has approved an anti-influenza drug, Aviifavir, to treat Covid-19 and will start delivering it to hospitals this month, according to Russia’s sovereign wealth fund.
The fund, RDIF, has provided money for Russia’s development and production of the drug which is based on favipiravir, an anti-influenza drug developed in Japan under the name Avigan, in a 50-50 joint venture with Russian pharmaceutical firm ChemRar.
Preliminary trials appeared to show that it could shorten recovery times for patients with Covid-19. The final stage of Avifavir clinical trials involving 330 patients are ongoing, RDIF and ChemRar said Monday, but Russia’s Ministry of Health on Saturday already temporarily approved the use of the drug as a coronavirus treatment.
“It’s a major, major step forward,” RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev told CNBC on Monday.
“We believe there are now only two antiviral drugs against the virus that are really effective, those are remdesivir, done by the U.S., and this favipiravir, which also has significant promise,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”