Israel to begin testing experimental Japanese corona drug

Israel is one of the first nations to begin testing Avigan, which has been praised in China and Japan for reducing recovery time for patients with mild cases of coronavirus.

By World Israel News Staff

On Monday, a shipment of an experimental drug called Avigan arrived in Israel, which the Ministry of Health hopes will slash the amount of time it takes for mildly ill coronavirus patients to recover from the potentially deadly disease, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Administering Avigan, which is also known as Favipiravir, reportedly cuts recover time in mild cases to just four days, dramatically reducing the amount of time it takes to eliminate the virus by about a week.

While the drug was previously used in China and Japan, where officials say it prevented the patients from deteriorating, no clinical trials have been carried out.

Israel received the drug thanks to the efforts of infectious diseases expert Prof. Ran Nir-Paz of Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem, Dr. Esti Sayag of Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, and Israel’s ambassador to Japan Yaffa Ben-Ari, the Post reported.

According to Sayag, Avigan represents the brightest hope among the handful of drugs that are being considered to treat coronavirus.

Eighty patients at hospitals in Jerusalem, Haifa, Tiberias, and Beersheba will be given Avigan to test its efficacy in treating coronavirus. The drug was originally developed for influenza.

As of Monday evening, 57 Israelis had died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with a total of almost 9,000 total diagnoses.