KLSC imports potential COVID-19 treatment

The use of the drug will be in accordance to Japanese guidelines, World Health Organization's recommendations, and Kuwait's regulations


In partnership with its parent company, the National Technology Enterprises Company (NTEC), the Embassy of Japan in Kuwait and the United Nations Progam Management Office - Kuwait Life Sciences Company (KLSC) is proud to announce the first shipment of Favipiravir (Avigan), a culmination of multiple efforts that started in March of 2020.

The antiviral medication Faviporavir, sold under the brand name Avigan, has shown promising results after preliminary trials on coronavirus cases.

“This first shipment of the medication comes as part of assistance for emergency response and humanitarian purposes. It has no commercial aspect from the Japanese government,” Dr Abdullah Al Badr, the Kuwaiti Health Ministry’s assistant undersecretary for medication affairs, said in a statement.

The use of the drug will be in accordance to Japanese guidelines, World Health Organization’s recommendations, and Kuwait’s regulations.

Potential coronavirus treatment Avigan is now expected to take until July at the earliest to complete a clinical trial, further delaying government approval in Japan, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

A sharp decline in COVID-19 cases in Japan has made it difficult to secure enough patients for testing,  to secure enough data is the latest setback to hopes that the Fujifilm Holdings-developed anti-flu drug can serve as a coronavirus remedy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government had initially expected to grant Avigan fast-track approval as a COVID-19 treatment in May.

The clinical trial of Avigan began at the end of March with the goal of testing 96 patients to examine its efficacy and safety. 

So far, however, the number of participants in the trial has stood at about 70% of the target, according to people familiar with the matter. The trial involves observing patients' conditions for 28 days following the administration of the drug.

According to KLSC CEO, Eng. Qais Marafie, "KLSC concluded its efforts by ending the customs release procedures for the shipment of the medication that was sent by air on behalf of the National Company for Technology Projects, through the United Nations Office, so that it can be received and delivered to the Ministry of Health. Eng. Marafie further confirmed that the use of the drug by the Ministry of Health will be in accordance with the Manual of Use Instructions Prepared by Japan and according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, with the aim of conducting clinical studies and clinical research in the State of Kuwait and sharing its results with international and scientific organizations."

As of today, June 8th, the State of Kuwait has 32,510 documented cases of COVID-19, including 166 in critical care. Thankfully there are 21,242 patients who have fully recovered from their symptoms. There are currently 10,999 patients under close monitoring and treatment with a further 23 patients in institutional quarantine under the auspices of the Ministry of Health with the support of the Ministry of Interior. For more information on the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Kuwait, please visit the official e-government portal: corona.e.gov.kw  

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