Ebola outbreak: Japan offers experimental anti-flu drug to World Health Organisation for Ebola treatment

Favipiravir has not been tested on Ebola but scientists say it could work

Japan is offering an experimental anti-viral drug called favipiravir as a possible treatment for the Ebola virus.

The drug, known under the brand name Avignan, has been approved by Japan’s health ministry for use against flu but has not been tested on humans with Ebola.

The Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said its manufacturers, a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Corp, can ship the drug at any time on the request of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Almost 1,500 people have so far been killed by the Ebola outbreak since March in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

There is known cure or treatment for the disease, which has a fatality rate estimated at between 60 and 90 per cent.

 

Despite the recovery of the two American humanitarian workers treated with another experimental drug, ZMapp, a Spanish priest and Liberian doctor given the treatment have died.

Read more: First Briton to contract deadly virus now in London hospital isolation unit
William Pooley, the first Briton to contract Ebola since outbreak, described as a hero by colleagues
Disease claims first European victim as Spanish priest infected in Liberia dies
Ebola outbreak: What is ZMapp and could the experimental treatment stop the disease?

It was not possible to determine whether the American workers had recovered naturally like other Ebola survivors or whether it was due to the serum.

Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, who has died from Ebola, with a patient in Liberia Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, who has died from Ebola, with a patient in Liberia Only six people in the world are known to have received ZMapp and the small supply is now said to be exhausted.

Fujifilm is in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration over the clinical testing of favipiravir in treating Ebola, company spokesman Takao Aoki said.

He said Ebola and influenza viruses are the same general type and a similar response can theoretically be expected from both.

Favipiravir inhibits viral gene replication within infected cells to prevent propagation, while other anti-viral drugs often are designed to inhibit the release of new viral particles to prevent the spread of infection, the company said.

It has enough stock of favipiravir for more than 20,000 patients.

Mr Suga said Japan is waiting for a decision by WHO that would provide greater guidance on the use of untested drugs against Ebola.

In case of an emergency, Japan may respond to individual requests before any further decision by WHO, he said.

The UN agency said earlier this month that it is ethical to use untested drugs on Ebola patients given the magnitude of the outbreak.

Although several drugs are being developed for the treatment of the virus, they are still in the early stages.

The first Briton to contract the deadly virus arrived back in England from Sierra Leone on Sunday.

The patient, named as 29-year-old William Pooley, had been working with victims as a nurse and is being treated in a specialist isolation unit.

Additional reporting by AP

Read more: IRRATIONAL FEARS POTENTIALLY MORE DAMAGING THAN EBOLA
EBOLA HAULED THREE NATIONS OUT OF RECOVERY
NUMBER OF EBOLA DEATHS 'MASSIVELY UNDERESTIMATED'
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...

Barnardo's: Corporate Audit and Inspection – Retail Intern (Leeds)

Unpaid - £4 lunch allowance plus travel to and from work: Barnardo's: Purpose ...

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future