Anti-viral drug Favilavir has secured approval from the National Medical Products Administration of China to treat coronavirus Covid-19, according to media reports.
China Daily reported that the Taizhou government in Zhejiang province announced the approval, which marks the authorisation of the first drug against the new coronavirus.
Formerly Fapilavir, the drug was developed by Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical.
Fapilavir allegedly demonstrated efficacy with minor side effects in an ongoing 70-patient clinical trial in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. The drug’s generic version received the approval.
Production of the anti-viral drug was begun on Sunday, added the news agency.
According to China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, Favilavir is one of the three drugs that showed encouraging profile for blocking the new coronavirus in early clinical trials.
The remaining two drugs are anti-malaria drug chloroquine and Gilead’s experimental drug remdesivir.
Chloroquine, an existing medicine, is under assessment in more than 100 patients at over ten hospitals in Beijing and Guangdong province. Plans for an additional study in Hunan province are underway.
Meanwhile, Gilead’s drug is said to be in studies at more than ten medical institutions in Wuhan, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak.
A study by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed that remdesivir could prevent the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a type of coronavirus in monkeys, offering hope for China trials.
Earlier this month, the Wuhan Institute of Virology filed an application seeking a new patent on remdesivir.