TOKYO – Japan will start providing the antiviral drug Avigan (favipiravir) for free to 38 countries with COVID-19 cases after the Golden Week holiday, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Tuesday.
“The Japanese government has decided to provide a total of $1 million emergency grant to provide Avigan free of charge to requesting countries, and to expand clinical research on COVID-19,” Motegi told a press conference.
He said that Japan has received requests for Avigan from more than 70 countries, including the 38, through diplomatic channels.
“Coordination has been completed to provide Avigan free of charge within certain limitation or quota,” he said.
He added that as stated by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), delivery of the drug can begin when the Golden Week holiday ends in early May “beginning from countries whose procedures have been completed.”
“After we provide Avigan, those countries will provide clinical research, and they will be offering the clinical data they receive through their clinical research to Japan, and that should contribute to the acceleration of development of effective therapeutics,” Motegi said.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Philippines is among the 38 nations that will be provided with Avigan, which was developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. - Florenda Corpuz