Japan offers experimental drug for Ebola treatment

Fresh hope appears in the horizon for Ebola patients as Japan on Monday expressed its readiness to provide its anti-influenza drug as treatment for the deadly virus.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, made the offer hours after a group of scientist in the United Kingdom said it had discovered that the largest outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease was caused by an infected fruit bat that bit a toddler.

Briefing journalists in Tokyo on Monday, Suga said Japan was ready to offer the drug, Favipiravir, which was developed by Toyama Chemical, a subsidiary of Fujifilm, any time the World Health Organisation requested it.

Approved by the Japanese health ministry in March, Favipiravir is a tablet developed for the treatment of novel and re-emerging influenza viruses.

Suga, according to the Agence France Presse, said Japan was waiting for WHO’s decision on further details over the use of untested drugs.

He however said that “in case of an emergency, Japan may respond to individual requests before any further decision by the WHO.”

The spokesperson for the company, Takao Aoki, said Fujifilm had initiated talks with the United States on how the drug could be adopted in treating EVD.

He said, “Fujifilm is in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration on clinical testing of the drug in treating Ebola, The company has Favipiravir stock for more than 20,000 patients. Ebola and influenza viruses are the same type and theoretically similar effects can be expected on Ebola,” he said.