China says Japan-developed drug Avigan works against coronavirus

The Chinese government has been conducting clinical research on a treatment for COVID-19.   © AP

DALIAN, China/HONG KONG/TOKYO — An influenza medicine developed by a Fujifilm Holdings group company is effective against the new coronavirus, the Chinese government said on Tuesday.

Beijing has already begun recommending the drug favipiravir, developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical and sold under the brand name Avigan.

“It is very safe and clearly effective,” said Zhang Xinmin, director of the science ministry’s China National Center for Biotechnology Development, in a news conference.

Fujifilm Toyama developed the drug in 2014. It has been administered to coronavirus patients in Japan since February.

On Wednesday, shares in Fujifilm shot up 15.4% in Tokyo in the afternoon session. Morning trade in the stock was suspended after a glut of buy orders following Beijing’s announcement.

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