Philippines Not Among 20 Countries on Japan’s Free Avigan List

TOKYO – The Philippines is not one of the 20 COVID-19-hit countries that were named by Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi that will be provided by Japan with the antiviral drug Avigan (favipiravir) for free.

Among the nations mentioned by Motegi are Indonesia, Myanmar, Albania, Ukraine, Estonia, Cyprus, Kosovo, San Marino, Georgia and Slovenia.

Also included are Serbia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

But according to the Japanese foreign minister, an additional 30 nations are showing interest to use it to treat new coronavirus patients.

“We will work with interested countries to expand clinical research on Avigan internationally,” Kyodo quoted Motegi as saying in a press conference on April 7.

In an earlier report by ABS-CBN News, it said that the Philippine government has requested Japan for allocation of the antiviral drug.

Researchers in China started testing Favipiravir as a potential coronavirus treatment in February, and said that the drug had shown promising results in treating COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.

Avigan was developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. It is currently in Phase III of clinical trial to evaluate its safety and efficacy. - Words by Florenda Corpuz, Photograph by Din Eugenio