Taiwan’s non-profit Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB) announced Monday that it has synthesized favilavir, an experimental medication being used in other countries as an investigational therapy to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The center will work closely with local biopharmaceutical companies certified for current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) to provide enough favilavir for patient care in Taiwan, the DCB said.
According to Chuang Shih-hsien (莊士賢), an executive with the DCB, the anti-viral drug was first developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co. and approved for the Japanese market in March 2014.
The medicine was widely used to treat patients who showed resistance to Tamiflu and Relenza, both of which are medications used to treat and prevent influenza caused by influenza A and B viruses, Chuang said.
More importantly, favilavir has been adopted by both Japan and China as an experimental drug to treat patients suffering from severe COVID-19, he explained.
Wu Chung-hsiun (吳忠勳), CEO of the DCB, said Taiwan has a comprehensive supply chain and believes local manufacturers will be able to produce enough of the drug in the shortest timeframe for COVID-19 patients in the country.
Favilavir is the second anti-viral drug after remdesivir which Taiwan has succeeded in synthesizing to combat the novel coronavirus, first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The anti-viral medication which has shown some efficacy in treating the novel coronavirus was approved by China’s National Medical Products Administration for marketing in February.