The Saturday editions of all national dailies reported on an announcement made by a medical college in Aichi Prefecture that its clinical test involving two groups of a total of 89 COVID-19 patients at 47 hospitals nationwide has found that the flu drug Avigan showed little benefit in measurably decreasing virus load among patients. Although the drug was administered to the patients of the two groups using different methods, there were “no statistically significant differences” between its effects for improving the conditions of the patients in the two control groups. The chief director of the clinical trial explained that a larger sampling might have produced a different outcome, noting that the team was not able to recruit a large number of subjects because of a sharp drop in the number of patients after the Golden Week holidays in early May.
Asahi noted that as the trial was undertaken in a bid to obtain the Health Ministry’s approval for using Avigan as a coronavirus treatment, the results will probably rule out rapid authorization. Although the drug’s manufacturer, Fujifilm Holdings, is conducting a clinical trial of its own, it has also reportedly been running into difficulties in recruiting participants.