COVID-19 treatment: Fabiflu by Glenmark, HCQ, Remdesivir and other drugs that are being used to treat coronavirus patients

Favipiravir is an antiviral drug which was developed by a Japanese pharma company, Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, to treat influenza.

Myupchar June 23, 2020 12:16:25 IST
COVID-19 treatment: Fabiflu by Glenmark, HCQ, Remdesivir and other drugs that are being used to treat coronavirus patients

Over nine million people globally have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, of which, 4,25,000 are in India. As this number rises, the need for a successful treatment becomes more urgent.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, a research-led pharmaceutical company, received the approval for manufacturing and marketing Favipiravir, an antiviral drug to be used for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 patients, from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Friday, 19 June 2020. After this approval, Favipiravir has become the first approved oral medication for the treatment of COVID-19 in India. The drug will be available by the name Fabi flu and is priced at Rs 103 per tablet. The drug should only be taken after medical consultation.

Following are some of the drugs which are being used in different parts of the world to treat COVID-19 patients currently.

Favipiravir: The Japanese Flu drug

Favipiravir is an antiviral drug which was developed by a Japanese pharma company, Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, to treat influenza and thus, it is also known as the Japanese Flu drug. Favipiravir was approved as an experimental treatment for COVID-19 infections in China in February 2020. According to scientists, the drug shows anti-viral activity against all the subtypes of influenza virus strains including influenza A, B, and even avian influenza.

Favipiravir restricts the multiplication of the virus in the body of the host once it gets inside a host cell. The virus requires a key protein enzyme, called RNA polymerase, to multiply inside the body of the host. Favipiravir restricts the RNA polymerase enzyme, thus the virus is unable to replicate and spread in the host body.

The drug is still under trial in Italy, UK and USA.

Remdesivir: The Ebola drug 

Remdesivir was first developed by Gilead Sciences, a US-based pharma company, during the outbreak of ebola. Since the drug did not work well on ebola patients, it was tested against coronavirus strains, SARS and MERS, in the year 2017. The research showed that Remdesivir had the ability to stop the enzyme RNA polymerase which was necessary for virus multiplication. This ensured that the virus could not spread in the body. Since then, it is being tested in various countries for its effectiveness against COVID-19 infection. The US Food and Drug Association has already issued emergency use authorisation for the use of Remdesivir for treating severe COVID-19 patients.

Hydroxychloroquine: Anti-malaria drug

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was first developed in India for the treatment of malaria, however, the drug is also a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) which helps in reducing swelling and pain in arthritis patients. Some laboratory and in-vivo studies have suggested that HCQ has the ability to prevent COVID-19 infection. Since then, many nations including India, have been using hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic drug. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has prescribed the use of hydroxychloroquine to people working on the frontlines during the pandemic (healthcare staff and police personnel) and those who are in direct contact with a COVID-19 positive person.

Tocilizumab: Rheumatoid arthritis drug

Tocilizumab is an anti-rheumatoid arthritis drug which is being tested against SARS-CoV-2 virus by the National Cancer Institute in Naples and the trial is called TOCIVID-19. Tocilizumab is actually a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody which has the ability to mimic the natural antibodies produced by the immune system of the body in response to the bad microorganisms that enter the body. The trial is ongoing and the drug is being used to treat pneumonia caused by the COVID-19 infection.

Ivermectin: Anti-parasitic drug

Ivermectin is a drug which is used for the treatment of head lice and intestinal worms. On testing the drug against the novel coronavirus , scientists found that ivermectin could restrict the growth of SARS-CoV-2 virus present in a cell within 48 hours and kills it eventually. Ivermectin has also been effective against other viruses such as dengue, influenza and even HIV. The medication is still under trial.

For more information, see Fabi flu

Also read: Treating COVID-19 : As widely-available steroid dexamethasone raises hopes, a look at other potential treatments in trials already

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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