2 Drugs better than 1 in severe flu: Time for CMAAO countries to have Favipiavir

Dr KK Aggarwal , President CMAAO and HCFI

The addition of the Ebola and Nipah effective drug Favipiavir in the treatment of severe influenza virus infections can save lives. Its time for the DCGI to approve this drug and Indian Pharma companies to launch it in India and neighbouring countries.

India is already introducing the EBOLA awareness program in the country.

Taking two antivirals ― favipiravir (Avigan, Toyama Chemical) and oseltamivir are more effective for treating severe influenza than taking oseltamivir alone, according to a comparison of results from two clinical trials published online December 11 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Each year, approximately 300,000 to 650,000 people die from seasonal influenza. The only drug oseltamivir, is of limited use, and its efficacy for severe cases has not been adequately studied. Adding an antiviral that works by a different mechanism might boost effectiveness, especially for the most compromised patients.

Favipiravir works differently from oseltamivir, targeting a viral RNA polymerase rather than the neuraminidase.

The patients received oseltamivir 75 mg for 10 days and either of two regimens of favipiravir (1600 mg BID on day 1 and 600 mg BID on days 2 to 10, or 1800 mg BID on day 1 and 800 mg BID on days 2 to 10).On day 14, clinical improvement was greater among the patients who received both drugs.

In addition, the proportion of patients with undetectable viral RNA at day 10 was higher in the combination group than in the monotherapy group. [Source Medscape]