Russia introduces the first antiviral drug to treat COVID-19, it is Avifavir, it was developed by Russian scientists and has been tested in more than 30,000 patients, showing optimal results with low side effects. Russian authorities signed an agreement on Monday to deliver the drug to seven Latin American countries.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced this afternoon that a total of 150,000 Avifavir packages will be delivered to Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This after an agreement to purchase the drug with the Bolivian company Sigma Corp S.R.L. who will receive the technology for its elaboration. The drug was approved by the Russian Ministry of Health on May 29, after verifying the great effectiveness of the product in the country after several tests carried out the same month.
Avifavir was developed under the compound favipiravir – a generic antiviral developed in Japan – this product is marketed in Japan for treating severe cases of influenza. The drug was developed and tested in record time, allowing it to become the first medicine to fight COVID-19.
The pharmaceutical product cannot be marketed, therefore it can only be obtained under medical supervision in hospitals. In addition, the Russian Direct Investment Fund has warned about the risks that Avifavir could have, ensuring that the drug is contraindicated for pregnant women and people in family planning processes.
Avifavir has been used in 30,000 people in 51 different Russian regions. According to Natalia Vostokova, Ipharma chief of operations, 65% of patients recovered in four days, while 85% failed a second test after the fifth day.