Abe Touts Avigan as COVID-19 Treatment; Experts Urge Caution

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TOKYO (Kyodo) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has enthusiastically promoted anti-influenza drug Avigan as a possible game-changer in the war against the coronavirus, but medical experts have called for caution, citing its side effects and yet unproven efficacy.

“Avigan has already been administered in more than 120 cases and we are receiving reports that it is effective in alleviating symptoms of the novel coronavirus,” Abe told a press conference on April 7, referring to the drug developed by a group firm of Fujifilm Holdings Corp. that is currently undergoing clinical tests on coronavirus patients.

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