Russia Approves First COVID-19 Drug

Russia Approves First COVID-19 Drug For Sale in Pharmacies

R-Pharm’s Coronavirus treatment called ‘Coronavir’ has been approved by Russia for patients with mild to moderate symptoms, and the company said the drug would be available in the pharmacies in the country as soon as next week.

Another Covid-19 drug, Avifavir, was approved in May, following which Russia is approving the new prescription drug. Both the drugs are based on favipiravir, a drug developed in Japan, which is used as the basis for viral treatments.

This is another sign that Russia is trying hard to be at the forefront of the global race against COVID-19. Russia has already clinched several international deals for supplies of its Sputnik-V vaccine and has been exporting its Covid-19 tests.

After Phase III clinical trials involving 168 patients with Covid-19, R-Pharm received approval for the treatment. A government register showed that the drug got its approval for in-hospital use in July.

The clinical trial for Coronavir was comparatively small. After a study by UK researchers on several thousand patients, the European health regulator endorsed the use of the steroid dexamethasone in the treatment of Covid-19 patients on Friday.

With Coronavir supplies expected to be rolled out in the near future, most probably bt next week, R-Pharma has started talks with pharmacies about orders, said the company’s spokeswoman.

The drug was developed at the company’s facility in Yaroslavl, about 300 km northeast of Moscow.

Avifavir has yet to be supplied to pharmacies, although it has been available in hospitals since June. Favipiravir, based on which the drug has been developed, is also the key component in Fujifilm Holdings Corp’s antiviral drug Avigan, which was approved as an emergency influenza treatment in Japan in 2014.

Trials are ongoing around the world to test it against SARS-CoV-2 infections. The results from a Japanese study in July were not enough to confirm that the drug is effective against COVID-19.



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