COVID sufferers in the UK are now able to access a course of tablets from their GP to avoid the need for hospitalisation. AiPharma’s antiviral treatment, favipiravir, is currently taken orally over a course of 7-14 days.

It is currently prescribed in the UK on a Compassionate Patient Use basis only. This refers to the prescription of medicine privately by a GP at no cost, if the patient has a potentially life-threatening or serious condition. It allows the patient access to investigational medicines.

At this time, the treatment is not recommended on the NHS while the trial remains ongoing.

The drug acts by inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 from replicating in the human system and has already been prescribed to more than 1.5 million people in ten countries across the globe.

Favipiravir was selected by the Department of Health and Social Care for a University of Oxford clinical trial, ongoing since March, involving 1,200 participants. The results for this trial are expected soon. Meanwhile, data from clinical trials that have taken place over the past 18 months around the world indicate more than 70% of mild to moderate patients achieved clinical improvements by day 7, and more than 90% recovered by day 14.

Favipiravir is best taken when symptoms first present, and stops the virus replicating, shedding the virus from the body. Clinical trials revealed that 70% of patients experienced relief of symptoms by day 3 and viral clearance by day 4.

AiPharma’s antiviral treatment has received full marketing authorisation or emergency use authorisation in a number of markets as a treatment for COVID-19, including in Mexico, India, Indonesia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia. Other countries have purchased the treatment under compassionate use programmes, including the UK, Greece, Hungary and Saudi Arabia.

Dr Alessandro Gadotti, CEO of AiPharma Group, stated: “Oral antiviral treatments are the first line of defence against COVID-19 and results in trials have shown that new treatments like favipiravir can relieve symptoms within a few days, negating the need for a hospital stay.”