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Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University – 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].

Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University conducted a Phase 1 multicenter, randomized, open, positive, parallel-controlled clinical study of the effectiveness of favipiravir compared to arbidol in 240 patients previously diagnosed with COVID-19 [3]. In the full analysis set (FAS) cohort of moderate patients with COVID-19, the clinical recovery rate at day 7 was 55.86% in the arbidol group and 71.43% in the favipiravir group (p = 0.0199). For moderate COVID-19 patients and COVID-19 patients with hypertension and/or diabetes, the time before fever reduction and cough relief in the favipiravir group was significantly shorter than that in the arbidol group (both p < 0.001), but the researchers observed no statistical difference in auxiliary oxygen therapy or noninvasive mechanical ventilation rate (both p > 0.05) [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. The Efficacy and Safety of Favipiravir for novel coronavirus–infected pneumonia: A multicenter, randomized, open, positive, parallel-controlled clinical study 
  4. 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.