A Japanese flu medicine being mass produced in China has been sent to Turkey where it is being used to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, according to Turkish officials.
The decision to send the drug to Turkey came after China confirmed it had been carrying out clinical trials in hospitals in the cities at the heart of the outbreak, Wuhan and Shenzhen, where 340 patients took part in tests.
The medicine is being made by Chinese firm Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical Co in large quantities since it was approved to fight the coronavirus, and certified suitable for commercialisation. Results show that patients recovered more quickly and symptoms were far less severe.
Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, said the use of the drug named favipiravir was encouraging adding: “It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment.”
The Turkish Ministry of Health confirmed they have been sent medicine from China to fight the coronavirus and local media said it was favipiravir.
Fahrettin Koca, 55, head of the Ministry of Health of Turkey, confirmed that the country was importing medication and local media reported Turkish medical staff had already started using favipiravir on critical COVID-19 positive patients.
X-rays also show that there was improvement in the lung condition in around 91 per cent of sufferers who were given favipiravir as opposed to 62 per cent without the drug.
Koca said during a press conference in the capital city of Ankara in central Turkey: “From this morning we have brought a special drug used in China which is claimed to have resulted in improvements in intensive care patients, cutting their time in care from 11-12 days to four days.”
Apart from the medication, Turkey has ordered over 300,000 rapid detection kits, which are already in use.
In addition to that Turkey plans on appointing additional 32,000 medical staff to battle the pandemic, as well as start mass-producing respirators.
According to data made available by the Johns Hopkins University, Turkey currently has 1,872 people infected with COVID-19, with a death toll of 44 people.
Fujifilm Toyama Chemical developed favipiravir in 2014 to tackle influenza and it has been used to tackle the coronavirus since February.
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Story By: Anastasia Smirnova, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
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