China said that a drug used in Japan to treat seasonal flu appears to be “clearly effective” in treating COVID-19 patients, according to a Guardian report published Wednesday.
“It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry told reporters.
The drug, favipiravir, procured encouraging results involving 340 patients in Wuhan and Shenzhen, according to the Guardian.
X-rays showed improvements in lung condition in some 91% of the patients who were treated with favipiravir, in comparison to 62% who were not. Moreover, virus carriers in Shenzhen were tested negative for COVID-19 after a median of four days, compared with a median of 11 days for those not treated with the drug.
Shares in the Fujifilm Toyama Chemical company producing the drug surged 14.7% at 5,207 yen on Wednesday following Zhang’s remarks, the Guardian reported.
But a Japanese health ministry source suggested the drug was not as effective in people with more severe symptoms. Thus far it appears to be more effective to patients with mild to moderate symptoms.