Japan Donates Anti-Viral Drug to Iceland

Vala Hafstað

The Japanese government has decided to donate 12,200 tablets of the antiviral medication Favipiravir (a.k.a. Avigan) to Landspítali National University Hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, Morgunblaðið reports. The drug is expected in Iceland in the coming weeks.

It was developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical in Japan, where it has been used for treating influenza.

According to Professor Magnús Gottfreðsson, infectious disease specialist at Landspítali, the drug has an effect on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, by inhibiting the replication of the viral genome.

“Clinical trials of the drug are underway worldwide, and hopefully, we’ll be able to contribute to those,” he adds. “This gift will suffice to treat 100 seriously ill COVID-19 patients.” In addition to using the drug for treatment, the hospital will be conducting clinical trials on its effectiveness.

Bolli Thoroddsen and employees of his Japanese-Icelandic firm Takanawa, secured the drug from the drug company Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, with which Takanawa has a strong connection.

“There is an unusually high demand, even a race, for this drug globally among at least 50 countries,” Bolli states. He adds that securing the drug was made possible through the correspondence of Minister for Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson to his Japanese counterpart, the efforts of Japan’s ambassador to Iceland, and the Japanese’ goodwill toward Icelanders.

In addition to the drug, Takanawa was able to secure Landspítali 60,000 Japanese swabs and vials to use for testing for the coronavirus. The swabs will make up the majority of swabs used by the hospital for this purpose.

According to The Guardian, Favipiravir has “produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients.” For more information about the drug, see here

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