FUJIFILM Corp. announced the initiation of a U.S. phase II clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of its influenza antiviral drug “Avigan Tablet” for COVID-19 patients. Avigan, approved in Japan for manufacture and sale as an influenza antiviral drug, selectively inhibits RNA polymerase necessary for influenza virus replication. Due to this mechanism of action, it is expected that Avigan may potentially have an antiviral effect on the new coronavirus because, like influenza viruses, coronaviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses that also depend on viral RNA polymerase.
On March 31, Fujifilm announced the start of phase III clinical trial of Avigan for COVID-19 patients in Japan.
The clinical trial in the U.S. will enroll approximately 50 patients with COVID-19, in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.