Everything you need to know about favipiravir

Amid the many bad news in current time from the Covid-19 front from India there is one good news in the media. Let us discuss drug favipiravir in detail which is currently produced, marketed by many companies and also generic form.

What is favipiravir?

favipiravir is a drug marketed by many companies as antiviral medicine. It is an antiviral drug and used in viral diseases. Being an antiviral drug it reduces the viral load when given to a person with viral disease and thus helps to cure or control the disease.

Why is favipiravir in the news?

It was in a previously known drug. Its not the very new one. But it has been found to decrease the viral load in the Covid-19 disease too.

Drug controller general of India has approved its use for moderate cases of covid-19 disease. Covid-19 badly affecting all of us this is good news giving new hope to the public so favipiravir is in the news.

We are already facing deficiency and heavy demand for the Remdesivir, this is the second drug available in the market which got approved for now.

What does it contain?

favipiravir is a generic name of the Fabiflu drug for the antiviral drug suggested to use in mild to moderate cases of Covid-19 disease

For what conditions is it used?

As we discussed earlier favipiravir is currently prescribed for mild moderate cases of Covid-19 disease. It is antiviral medicine. It reduces the viral replication in the infected patients and thus helps the faster recovery.

When to use favipiravir in Covid-19 disease?

Currently favipiravir has got approval to use in moderate cases of the Covid-19 disease. Every Covid-19 case will not need this medicine. This medicine will not be available without doctor’s prescription.

What is the company claiming about it?

If used in moderate Covid-19 cases this drug reduces viral load in 7-14 days. Currently it has been approved for restricted use by emergency authorization by DCGI.

What are side effects?

Like all the medicines this too has its own side effects. It is important to know the side effects as the use of drugs is warranted if benefits are significantly more than side effects. 

The risk to benefit ratio should be favourable for the patient.

  • Mild to moderate diarrhea
  • increase of blood uric acid and transaminases
  • decrease in the neutrophil counts

Is it safe to take favipiravir in pregnancy?

Yet safety data in pregnancy in humans is not known. In other animal species it was found to be affecting the baby and having teratogenic effects on the baby.

Is it safe to use in lactating mothers?

The safety of this drug to baby is used by breastfeeding lactating mothers is not yet known. Covid-19 disease itself is not contraindicated to breastfeeding but if this drug is started to breastfeeding mothers it is advised to stop breastfeeding and give appropriate infant formula milk to babies.

What is a dose of favipiravir?

For covid-19 for age above 18 years it is suggested to take it 1800 mg twice a day followed by 800 mg twice a day for 7-14 days.

The change in dosing may be needed depending on the condition of the individual patient as suggested by the treating doctor.

How does favipiravir work?

Favipiravir is an antiviral agent. It halts the replication of novel coronavirus and other viruses. These viruses when infect the host and gain entry into the cells they use the host cell machinery for their replication. 

During this process various enzymes are needed. Before the replication of the virus the RNA the nucleic acid material of the virus needs to be replicated. This RNA carries the code for replication. 

It uses host cell machinery to make its new copies. Additionally it also carries the code to produce other important structural proteins in the virus. After producing RNA copies in huge numbers the host ribosomes are used to read the code on RNA. 

This code directs the machinery to produce other components of the virus. Then the assembly of the RNA and components produced by the machinery is joined to form the new virus copies. 

One the most important enzyme during this process is RNA polymerase. This enzyme, while replication of the RNA of the virus, identifies necessary nucleic acids and combines it into the process to synthesize the RNA copy. Favipiravir when enters the host cell it is converted to its active form a phosphoribosyl form. 

This form is purine like in its function which is a nucleic acid. So viral RNA polymerase by mistake recognizes this activated form of favipiravir as a purine. These molecules get incorporated in the viral RNA. 

Thus faulty copies of RNA are produced. As we discussed earlier, that for viral replication and assembly the code, the information is present in the viral RNA. In short, favipiravir damages that information. 

They faulty RNA copies and in turn faulty virus which is not viable and not harmful is produced. As this drug applies brakes to viral replication the viral load in infected people decreases in a span of a few hours.


This is just a general information regarding favipiravir. This information can not be replacement of your doctor’s advice. We wont be responsible for any effects if you use this medicine on you or people around you without consulting your doctor.

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