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Favipiravir AKA Avigan to be used for all Covid patients, despite paltry scientific merit

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Jernej Furman / Flickr

All Covid patients will receive the antiviral drug Favipiravir, AKA Avigan, says the Public Health Ministry. In fact, the government is planning to stockpile 420 million tablets.

Yesterday, the Department of Medical Services announced that health officials can administer the drug to all groups of Covid patients.

Before yesterday’s announcement, green coded patients with mild to no symptoms that were under home isolation/community isolation only got the Fah Talai Jone herb as a treatment. It should be noted that Fah Talai Jone has dubious empirical evidence that suggests it’s effective against combatting Covid.

However, Dr Kiattiphum Wongworajit, who is the permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry, says the ministry has “adjusted” a plan to use the drug to accelerate and to broaden its coverage to all groups of Covid sufferers in order to combat the rising case numbers and deaths.

The doctor did not add if they also adjusted the efficacy of the drug, as research is still underway for the drug’s potential use in treating viral infections, such as Covid. Also, a study of global trials for Favipiravir/Avigan suggested the drug has little use for Covid patients once their symptoms become serious.

3 months ago, the Thai government rejected the patent for Favipiravir/Avigan.

Further, according to The efficacy and safety of Favipiravir in treatment of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials, “more clinical trials with a larger sample size are necessary to evaluate the exact efficacy and safety of this intervention”.

Since August 4, the demand for Favipiravir has gone up to 850,000 tablets a day, with 760,000 tablets going to Bangkok alone.

To make sure there are enough Favipiravir tablets available, the ministry has tasked the Government Pharmaceutical Organization with obtaining 120 million more tablets from August till September, and then 300 million tablets from October to December. Further, the GPO will obtain 100,000 additional vials of the antiviral drug Remdesivir this month.

SOURCE: Scientific Reports Bangkok Post

 

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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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