Japan’s Backing of Virus Drug Premature, Says Trial’s Lead Researcher - (Bloomberg via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Bloomberg reported that final results of a trial testing Fujifilm's antiviral Avigan to treat COVID-19 are expected around July, according to Yohei Doi, a doctor who is leading the trial.

  • The lead researcher said it is too early to make a call on whether the drug works or not, and patients are still being enrolled.

  • Doi's comments came amid conflicting reports over the drug's efficacy, with Japanese media saying the off-patent drug was not effective based on an interim analysis of the trial, while Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he expects the treatment to be approved this month.

  • "It doesn't make a lot of sense," Doi said of Abe’s comments, considering how little time is left in May, adding "I could just take it as that this is what he's hoping for."

  • Meanwhile, shares in Fujifilm dipped as much as 4.9% in Tokyo trading Wednesday on the reports, which Doi said were misleading as they are based on an interim analysis.

  • Doi's trial, sponsored by Japan's health department, is not connected to two separate randomized trials Fujifilm is running, one in Japan and one in Boston. A Fujifilm spokesman said the Japan trial is expected to be completed in June, while the US study is targeted for completion in December.

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