The Bangladesh Society of Medicine (BSM) has found effectiveness of Favipiravir as a clinically proven drug for the treatment of Covid-19 patient.
After ending trial in Wuhan province of China and Russia, the Dhaka trial revealed similar effectiveness of Favipiravir in treating Covid-19 infected patients.
The BSM found around 96 percent patients to be Covid-19 negative in their RT-PCR testing after application of this drug.
"To evaluate the usefulness and safety of Favipiravir in treating Covid-19 infected patients, we have conducted a double blind placebo controlled randomised clinical trial in Bangladesh and we named it 'Dhaka Trial'," said Syed Gulam Mogni Mowla, associate professor of the Department of Medicine, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital.
Mowla said this during a PowerPoint presentation at a seminar styled "Study on safety and efficacy of Favipiravir (Favipira) on Covid-19 patients in selected hospitals of Bangladesh", organised by the BSM in collaboration with Beacon Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (BPL) at The Dhaka Westin yesterday.
Favipira, the generic version of Japan's anti-flu drug Avigan, has already been manufactured by BPL, one of the country's leading pharmaceutical companies.
Eskayef Pharmaceuticals manufacture same drug under the brand name of Favipir and are supplying it to hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients.
Apart from around 14 pharmaceuticals companies, including Beximco, Renata, Orion Pharma, and Square are also producing this drug.
The trial protocol was approved by the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) and the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC).
It was conducted on a total of 50 Covid-19 patients, who were undergoing treatment at Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, Dhaka Mahanagar General Hospital, Kurmitola General Hospital and Mugda Medical College and Hospital in Dhaka.
After using Favipira on the patients for four days, 48 percent of the results were Covid-19 negative in PCR testing report and within 10 days, it was 96 percent, said a healthcare official working with the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
The drug improved lung function three times higher than the placebo group and also shortened the longevity of the virus, Mowla said.
The results of the Dhaka trial found that patients who received Favipira had a 44 percent more viral clearance than those who received the placebo drug.
"The good thing is that Favipiravir has no significant side effects on the liver, kidneys o blood sugar and we did not find significant differences Favipira and the placebo group," he added.
"Through the Dhaka trial, we found Favipiravir to be an effective drug with negligible side effects in treating Covid-19 patients," he claimed.
He also suggested that the BSM start early use of the drug to avoid the fatality rate from increasing.
Prof Billal Alam, president of the BSM said, "We are pleased to reach a clear-cut decision for treating Covid-19 patients through the Dhaka trial conducted on our own patients."
Billal also thanked all the doctors, nurses and health workers for their tireless efforts to take care of patients infected with coronavirus.
Prof Abdur Rahman, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at DMCH, said it has been proved that Bangladesh is capable of manufacturing a quality drug.
He also requested all local drug manufacturers to go for a big volume of exportation after producing the drug to boost the country's overall economy.
Prof ABM Abdullah, dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said there was no specific drug for Covid-19 treatment.
So, Favipiravir is one of the hopes for treatment, as its clinical trial proved that it is effective at mild to moderate stage.
Doctors can use this drug to treat Covid-19 patients, he said, adding, "But the general public cannot use it as preventive measures."
Prof Dr Syed Modasser Ali, chairman of Bangladesh Medical Research Council, thanked the medicine society team for excellent research work that find the right path of treating Covid-19 patients.
"We believe Favipiravir will be the game changer and will reduce the pressure on the healthcare system," Ali added.