China’s Health Ministry: Fujifilm’s anti-flu drug effective in treating coronavirus

Shares of Japan’s Fujifilm Holding surged 15%


Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, announced that favipiravir, also known as Avigan developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 coronavirus patients. Avigan is an experimental antiviral used to treat RNA viruses, which has shown efficacy against influenza derivatives, yellow fever, foot-and-mouth disease and numerous others. It has also shown an effect against Ebola and Zika virus, and recent clinical trials have demonstrated its efficacy against the novel coronavirus.

Addressing the media, Xinmin said, “It has a high degree of safety and is effective in treatment.” According to reports, Japanese doctors are using this drug in clinical studies on coronavirus patients with mild to moderate symptoms and hoping it will prevent the virus from multiplying in patients. However, a Japanese health ministry source also mentioned that the drug was not as effective in people with more severe symptoms. “We’ve given Avigan to 70 to 80 people, but it doesn’t seem to work that well when the virus has already multiplied,” the source added.

As reported by China’s public health broadcaster NHK, patients who were given the medicine in Shenzhen turned negative for the virus after a median of four days after becoming positive, while those who were not given this drug experienced a median of 11 days. Similarly, X-rays reports also confirmed improvements in lung condition in about 91% of the patients who were treated with favipiravir, compared to 62% or those without the drug.

Avigan, which was initially intended to treat flu, would need government approval for full-scale use on coronavirus patients. A health official also stated that the drug could be approved as early as May. However, approval is also linked to the success of the duration of clinical trials. If the results of clinical research are delayed, the approval could also be delayed.

Shares in Japanese firm Fujifilm Holding surged 15% on Wednesday after Chinese authorities said that the drug produced by the company could be effective for treating Covid – 19 patients.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here