Japan's Fujifilm begins clinical trials to test its anti-flu drug that promises to treat coronavirus
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Tokyo: Japan's Fujifilm has begun clinical trials to test the effectiveness of its anti-flu drug Avigan in treating patients with the new coronavirus, after reports of promising results in China.

Trials in China have suggested Avigan could play a role in shortening the recovery time for patients infected with coronavirus.

"The trial will be conducted on 100 patients until the end of June," a company spokesman told AFP on Wednesday. "We will collect data, analyse them and file for approval after that," he added.

The drug will be administered for a maximum of 14 days to coronavirus patients between 20 and 74 years old with mild pneumonia, the spokesman said.

The study excludes pregnant women due to side effects shown in animal testing, he added.

The phase three trial comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday that the government "will begin the necessary process to formally approve (Avigan) as a treatment against the new coronavirus." China has already completed clinical trials on favipiravir, the main ingredient in Avigan, the country's ministry of science and technology said last month.

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