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FabiFlu India's first drug for COVID-19 patients launched: Know more about it

In India, Glenmark becomes the first pharmaceutical company to receive regulatory approval for oral antiviral Favipiravir for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 patients. Let us read in detail about the Favipiravir (FabiFlu) drug.
Jun 23, 2020 19:28 IST
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FabiFlu India's first drug for COVID-19 launched
FabiFlu India's first drug for COVID-19 launched

In India, COVID-19 patients are increasing day by day and for that several clinical trials are going on. A research-led integrated drug company namely Glenmark Pharmaceuticals announced the launch of an antiviral drug namely Flavipiravir with brand name FabiFlu which will help to treat the COVID-19 patients from mild to moderate symptoms.

From India's drug regulator, Glenmark received manufacturing and marketing approval for generating FabiFlu the first oral Favipiravir-approved medication in India for the treatment of COVID-19. It is a prescription based medicine. The price of the drug is Rs 103 per tablet and is available as a 200 mg tablet at an MRP of Rs 3500 for a strip of 34 tablets. 

About Favipiravir drug

Most patients suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 can benefit from FabiFlu use. It is a prescription-based medication and the recommended dose being 1800 mg twice daily on day 1 and it will be followed by 800 mg twice up to day 14.

As per Glenmark, the drug will be available both through hospitals and the retail channel. According to Dr. Rommel Tickoo, the Associate Director, Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare said that the Favipiravir drug could be a 'potential game-changer'. Further, he stated that "We do not have much data, but whatever data we've shows that it's promising. We will have clearer information about the efficacy of the drug within the next two months." He also told PTI that the preliminary report is promising which suggests that they (Glenmark) know that it works." "The drug has to be given in an early stage and is a potential game-changer as it can be given in the form of a tablet and thus it is also easy to administer and relatively is inexpensive."

According to Glenmark, Favipiravir drug shows clinical improvements of up to 88% in COVID-19 with a rapid reduction in viral load by 4 days. Further told that the clinical improvement noted across the age groups 20 to>90 years including the patients with co-morbid conditions like diabetes and heart disease suffering from mild to moderate COVID-19. 

The drug also provides faster symptomatic and radiological improvement. The pharmaceutical company Glenmark successfully developed the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and the formulation for FabiFlu through its own in-house R&D team. With India's drug regulator DCGI, Glenmark filed the product for clinical trial and became the first pharmaceutical company in India to receive approval for phase 3 trial conducting on mild to moderated COVID-19 patients.

For the significance of the development, Mr. Glenn Saldanha, Chairman and Managing Director of Glenmark Pharmaceutical Ltd. said, "This approval comes at a time when cases in India are increasing like never before, generating a tremendous pressure on our healthcare system. We hope the supply of an efficient treatment like Favipiravir will considerably help assuage this pressure and offer patients in India away needed and timely therapy options.”
He also told that the drug has shown encouraging responses in mild to moderate COVID-19 patients during clinical trials. The good thing is that it is orally administered and also serves as a more convenient treatment option over other intravenously administered medications.

How Favipiravir drug works?

Let us tell you that since 2014, Favipiravir is approved in Japan for the treatment of novel or re-emerging influenza virus infections. It has a unique or different mechanism of action that is it is converted into an active phosphoribosylated form (favipiravir-RTP) in cells and recognised as a substrate by viral RNA polymerase and therefore inhibits RNA polymerase activity. 
Most of the patients having mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 can be benefit from FabiFlu drug use. Glenmark, earlier last month,  also announced about another clinical test.  It was to gauge the efficacy of two antivirals Favipiravir and Umifenovir as a combination therapy in moderate hospitalised adult COVID-19 patients in India.

Also according to some experts, it is not a specific drug made for COVID-19 and has been found to be useful, but the real efficacy will be known when administered on a large scale.

About Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd (GPL) 

It is a worldwide research-led pharmaceutical company with a presence across Generics, Specialty, and OTC business with operations in over 50 countries. The focus area of Glenmark therapy globally is respiratory, dermatology, and oncology. In the world, it ranks among the top 80 Pharma & Biotech companies in terms of revenue.

Glenmark's FabiFlu drug has been approved for the COVID-19 treatment in India. It will help in treating COVID-19 patients from mild to moderate symptoms. It is often orally administered and reduce the viral load. 

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