Flu Drug Effective Against Coronavirus: Chinese Researchers

THURSDAY, March 19, 2020 -- The flu drug favipiravir is "clearly effective" in treating coronavirus patients, Chinese researchers say.

Their trial of favipiravir included 340 coronavirus patients patients in China. Those who received the drug recovered quicker and showed greater lung improvement than those who didn't get the drug, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported.

It's believed that favipiravir blocks the coronavirus from replicating in the body.

Favipiravir was effective in helping coronavirus patients recover, and caused no obvious side effects, Zhang Xinmin, an official at China's Science and Technology Ministry, said at a news conference Tuesday, the Daily Mail reported.

However, other clinical trials suggest favipiravir doesn't help coronavirus patients with more severe illness, the Daily Mail reported.

Favipiravir is the active ingredient in a Japanese flu drug called Avigan, but it's not known if that was the drug given to the Chinese patients.

Currently, there is no treatment for the coronavirus. Most people develop mild symptoms and recover at home within a week, the Daily Mail reported.

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