In this file photo taken on October 22, 2014 anti-influenza Avigan tablets produced by Japan's Fujifilm are displayed in Tokyo. (AFP Photo)
CAIRO – 10 April 2020: Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said late on Thursday that the ministry has managed to communicate with the Japanese manufacturer of the antiviral drug Avigan to treat patients with coronavirus (COVID-19).
The drug, developed by a group firm of Fujifilm Holdings Corp., has been stored in Japan as a treatment for influenza. Reports in China showed that the drug has been effective in treating COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
Fujifilm Holdings Corp said on Thursday it will start phase II clinical trials of its anti-flu drug Avigan for COVID-19 patients in the United States, according to the NY Times.
The minister further added that Egypt is joining scientific research with Japan in an attempt to reach a medicine for the novel pandemic.
The trial will enrol about 50 COVID-19 patients in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Fujifilm further added.
Dr. Abdel Ghaffar also stressed that Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has directly instructed a daily follow-up and constant collaboration with the Chinese side to begin manufacturing the medicine in one of the pharmaceutical companies in the 10th of Ramadan City.
On March 31, Fujifilm announced the start of a phase III clinical trial of Avigan for COVID-19 patients in Japan.
Japan plans to provide Avigan for free to 20 countries hoping to use it to treat COVID-19 patients and will provide the United Nations Office for Project Services with a $1 million grant to buy and distribute the drug, according to Japan’s national daily The Mainichi.