Japan donates flu medicine Avigan to Estonia

The Japanese government has donated a drug called Avigan (favipiravir) – a flu medicine that some countries are testing whether it can be used to fight against the novel coronavirus – to Estonia.

The Estonian embassy in Japan received the shipment last week, it should arrive in Estonia in the week of 11 May.

“The fact that Estonia is receiving Avigan from Japan is a great example of international cooperation in a crisis,” the Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, said. “I spoke to my Japanese colleague Toshimitsu Motegi on Thursday and thanked him.”

Avigan was developed by the Japanese pharmaceutical company Fujifilm Toyama Chemicals to be used as a flu medicine. After the outbreak of the pandemic, the Estonian foreign ministry, in cooperation with the Estonian Agency of Medicines, started to investigate ways to obtain Avigan for clinical trials to test its possible use for treating COVID-19.

More than 80 countries have submitted applications to Japan for participating in trials and testing the experimental use of Avigan in the treatment of the novel coronavirus.

Japan issued the medicine for free for human trials in the framework of international cooperation, and Estonia is obligated to share the results of its clinical research with Japan.

Cover: This handout picture released by Japan’s Fujifilm Corp. on 22 October 2014 in Tokyo shows Avigan tablets, approved as an influenza drug in Japan. Photo by AFP Photo / Fujifilm.

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