The Japanese government plans to donate the influenza drug Avigan, which is being used to treat Covid-19 patients in China, to 20 countries shortly, and an official at the Cambodian Embassy in Japan expects the Kingdom to be on the list.
Radio France Internationale (RFI) said Avigan, also known as favipiravir, was tested by Chinese authorities in March and produced positive results. The drug has since been used by the Beijing government to treat Covid-19 patients.
The General Department of Immigration Facebook page said the governor of Japan’s Toyama prefecture, Takakazu Ishii has urged Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co, the drug’s manufacturer, to produce more of the medicine to help treat Covid-19 abroad.
An official of the Cambodian Embassy in Japan, who asked not to be named, told The Post on Tuesday that it had not yet received any clear information about whether Cambodia was among the 20 countries which will receive Avigan.
“Although we have not yet received any information about it being given to Cambodia, the embassy is confident that we are on the list of partners in the plan to receive drugs for Covid-19 treatment,” the official said.
The Japanese Embassy in Cambodia couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday.
While Avigan has shown promise in relieving symptoms of early-stage sufferers of the Covid-19 disease, the drug became ineffective once the virus entered an advanced stage, reported Asia Times.
Dr Hen Phearak who has over 20 years’ experience in respiratory illnesses, told The Post on Tuesday that Avigan can’t cure Covid-19, but it can effectively treat influenza.
“Covid-19 can cause many symptoms such as chills and fever, runny nose, cough, diarrhea and breathing difficulties. Avigan reduces some symptoms, which keep patients from entering the critical condition,” he said.
Phearak said as the immune system weakens, symptoms start to appear and Avigan is only used to prevent the symptoms from worsening.
“So if Japan helps, it is a merit for that country. The drug is expensive too, and it is a very good quality medicine to treat some types of flu,” he said, adding that he expects Cambodia to receive the drug from Japan to combat the pandemic.