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Chinese Researchers Say Flu Drug Effective Against COVID-19

Scientists believe that favipiravir blocks the coronavirus from replicating in the body

WEDNESDAY, March 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The flu drug favipiravir is "clearly effective" in treating patients with the novel coronavirus, Chinese researchers say.

Their trial of favipiravir included 340 patients with COVID-19 in China. Those who received the drug recovered quicker and showed greater lung improvement than those who did not get the drug, the U.K.'s Daily Mail reported.

It is believed that favipiravir blocks COVID-19 from replicating in the body. Favipiravir was effective in helping COVID-19 patients recover and caused no obvious side effects, Zhang Xinmin, an official at the China Science and Technology Ministry, said at a news conference Tuesday, the Daily Mail reported. However, other clinical trials suggest favipiravir does not help COVID-19 patients with more severe illness.

Favipiravir is the active ingredient in a Japanese flu drug called Avigan, but it is not known if that was the drug given to the Chinese patients. Currently, there is no treatment for COVID-19. Most people develop mild symptoms and recover at home within a week, the Daily Mail reported.

COVID-19 continued its insidious spread throughout America on Tuesday, as all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and U.S. Virgin Islands reported cases, and the death toll approached 100 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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