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Glenmark Pharmaceuticals released an antiviral drug on Saturday, June 20, 2020, in India. The drug, called Favipiravir—under the brand name FabiFlu—has been released as a treatment option for patients in India who are experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms  

The company, based in Mumbai, released the announcement about this oral medication in late June. FabiFlu, as it’s being called, will be available as a 200 mg tablet that will sell at a max retail price of Rs 3,500 for a strip of 34 tablets. 

According to Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturing capacity will lend itself to providing enough FabiFlu for about 82,500 patients within its first month (based on the demand of two strips per patient), though, the company mentioned they’d be monitoring the situation stringently to ensure that they’re meeting the scale needed.

What is Favipiravir

Otherwise known as FabiFlu, this drug is the first oral Favipiravir-approved medication for the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms released in India. The first recommended dose—1,800mg twice daily on day one—is followed by a smaller dosage of 800mg twice every day for up to 14 days, according to Glenmark. 

Announced on Saturday, Glenmark received its approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), just in time, the company believes, to help create an effective treatment that can ease the tremendous pressure that’s being put on India’s healthcare system.

FabiFlu was developed by Glenmark via in-house research, though Glenmark has worked closely with both the medical community and the government in order to make FabiFlu rapidly accessible to patients throughout the country of India. 

Still, FabiFlu’s approval comes with restricted use and responsible medication usage. Every patient who receives FabiFlu will need to have a signed informed consent before the treatment initiation, according to Glenmark. 

How Does FabiFlu Treat Symptoms of COVID-19? 

So, how exactly does FabiFlu and why do researchers at Glenmark believe that it can help treat patients with mild to moderate COVD-19 symptoms?

According to Glenmark’s research, the company decided to work with Favipiravir because it has proven in-vitro activity against SARSCoV2 virus, which, as we all know, is what’s responsible for COVID-19. 

FabiFlu works by offering an intense, rapid reduction in viral load within the short time span of four days, thereby providing faster symptomatic and radiological improvement. The most promising part? This drug, which has technically been approved in Japan since 2014 for the treatment of novel or re-emerging influenza virus infections—has shown clinical improvement for patients of up to 88 percent in mid to moderate COVID-19 cases. 

Though we’re a long way from developing a vaccine, a cure, or more effective treatment options, it’s thought that FabiFlu could be the beginning of easing the strain on medical institutions as cases continue to spike.

COVID-19, Health News


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