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Turkish scientists develop local synthesis of favipiravir

Turkish scientists develop local synthesis of favipiravir

A group of scientists has developed a local synthesis of favipiravir, a drug commonly used to treat COVID-19. Associate professor Mustafa Güzel, who is among the developers, said they have saved the country millions of dollars in imports with the project.

Early studies have shown that the Japanese-developed flu drug favipiravir, also known under the brand name Avigan, has been shown to be effective in both reducing the duration of coronavirus infection in patients and improving the condition of their lungs, its main point of attack.

Güzel heads a drug development department at Istanbul Medipol University. His project is part of the efforts of the COVID-19 Turkey Platform, an initiative of scientists, universities and pharmaceutical companies working together to develop vaccines and drugs against the virus. The platform works under the coordination of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK).

Last June, scientists succeeded in creating a local synthesis of favipiravir. Following the completion of licensing and approval, the drug is now available for use. “We have worked day and night since the outbreak began. In just 40 days, we were able to create an industrial-scale drug. After licensing, we donated 10,000 boxes of the drug to the Health Ministry initially. Then, we worked to increase our production capacity to up to 3 tons monthly,” he told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Sunday. Since last summer, 6 million boxes of domestically produced favipiravir were supplied to the Health Ministry. It is mainly delivered by contact tracing crews to coronavirus patients who are in self-isolation at home across the country.