In a landmark development for Covid-19 patients in India, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, a research-led, integrated global pharmaceutical company, announced the launch of antiviral drug Favipiravir (brand name FabiFlu) for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 patients.
Glenmark has received manufacturing and marketing approval from India’s drug regulator, making FabiFlu the first oral Favipiravir-approved medication in India for the treatment of Covid-19.
Favipiravir is backed by strong clinical evidence showing encouraging results in patients with mild to moderate Covid-19. The antiviral offers broad-spectrum RNA virus coverage with clinical improvement noted across age groups 20 to 90+ years. Favipiravir can be used in Covid-19 patients with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes and heart disease with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms. It claims to offer rapid reduction in viral load within 4 days and provides faster symptomatic and radiological improvement. Of most importance, Favipiravir has shown clinical improvement of up to 88% in Covid-19 mild to moderate Covid-19 cases.
Glenmark successfully developed the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and the formulation for FabiFlu through its in-house R&D team. Glenmark filed the product for a clinical trial with India’s drug regulator DCGI and became the first pharmaceutical company in India to receive approval for conducting phase 3 clinical trial on mild to moderate Covid-19 patients.
Commenting on the significance of this development, Glenn Saldanha, chairman and managing director of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, said, “This approval comes at a time when cases in India are spiraling like never before a tremendous pressure on our healthcare system. We hope the availability of an effective treatment such as FabiFlu will considerably help assuage this pressure and offer patients in India a much needed and timely therapy option.”
He added, “FabiFlu has demonstrated an encouraging response in mild to moderate Covid-19 patients during clinical trials. Moreover, it is orally administered, and so it serves as a more convenient treatment option over other intravenously administered medications. Glenmark will work closely with the government and medical community to make FabiFlu quickly accessible to patients across the country.”
Favipiravir is approved in Japan since 2014 for the treatment of novel or re-emerging influenza virus infections. It has a unique mechanism of action. It is converted into an active phosphoribosylated form (favipiravir-RTP) in cells and recognized as a substrate by viral RNA polymerase, thereby inhibiting RNA polymerase activity.
Most patients exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms can benefit from FabiFlu use. The drug will be available as a prescription-based medication for Rs 103 for one tablet, with the recommended dose being 1800 mg twice daily on day 1, followed by 800 mg twice daily up to day 14.
Earlier last month, Glenmark also announced that it is conducting another clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of two antivirals Favipiravir and Umifenovir, as a combination therapy in moderate hospitalized adults Covid-19 patients in India.