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Toyama Chemical – Favipiravir

Favipiravir is an antiviral drug that was initially developed for influenza by the pharmaceutical branch of Fujifilm, Toyama Chemical. It selectively inhibits the RNA polymerase of RNA viruses, thus preventing viral reproduction. Along with being active against the influenza virus, It shows antiviral activity against flavi-, alpha-, filo-, bunya-, arena-, and noroviruses [1,2].

After a pilot trial by Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University has found a better recovery rate in COVID-19 patients in the favipiravir group compared to the arbidol group [3], favipiravir is considered to be worth further investigation as a potential candidate drug for this disease.

Fujifilm pharmaceutical company Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. announced a Phase 3 clinical trial in 100 participants to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Avigan (favipiravir) in Japan for patients of COVID-19 [4].


  1. De Clercq, E. (2019). New Nucleoside Analogues for the Treatment of Hemorrhagic Fever Virus Infections. Chemistry–An Asian Journal, 14(22), 3962-3968.
  2. Delang, L., Abdelnabi, R., & Neyts, J. (2018). Favipiravir as a potential countermeasure against neglected and emerging RNA viruses. Antiviral research, 153, 85-94.
  3. Chen, C., Huang, J., Cheng, Z., Wu, J., Chen, S., Zhang, Y., … & Yin, P. (2020). Favipiravir versus Arbidol for COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial. medRxiv.
  4. Fujifilm announces the start of a phase III clinical trial of influenza antiviral drug “Avigan Tablet” on COVID-19 and commits to increasing production