Fujifilm shares jump 15% on China coronavirus drug trial boost

Fujifilm shares jump 15% on China coronavirus drug trial boost

Fujifilm shares jump 15% on China coronavirus drug trial boost

China's ministry of science and technology stated late Tuesday some clinical trials have been completed on favipiravir-the main ingredient in the influenza drug Avigan, which Fujifilm sells.

Shares in Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp (4901.T) surged 15 percent on Wednesday morning after a Chinese official said the company's Avigan anti-flu drug appeared to help coronavirus patients recover. Those not treated had a rate of 62%, the Guardian reports.

Patients who took the flu drug recovered quicker and showed greater lung improvement compared with patients not given the drug.

Well recognized for its cameras, Fujifilm built Avigan and has licensed the patent for favipiravir to Chinese firm Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical.

But a Japanese health ministry source suggested the drug was not as effective in people with more severe symptoms. The drug stops some viruses from replicating by crippling the enzyme (a chemical that gets chemical reactions going) called RNA polymerase, which builds RNA.

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Still, a treatment that is effective in reducing the duration of the presence of the virus even in milder cases, and in lessening the impacts in moderate symptomatic patients, would be a huge benefit to the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.

In 2016, the Japanese government supplied Favipiravir as an emergency aid to counter the Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea. "But if the results of clinical research are delayed, approval could also be delayed".

Favipiravir would need government approval for full-scale use on Covid-19 patients, since it was originally meant to treat flu.

Other drug treatments have been tested for COVID-19 treatment, and are in the process of development, but no antiviral has yet been approved or created specifically for dealing with the new coronavirus.

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