UPDATE 1-Russia's R-Pharm secures approval for COVID-19 drug Coronavir

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MOSCOW, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Russia has approved R-Pharm's Coronavir treatment for outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infections and the antiviral drug could be rolled out to pharmacies in the country as soon as next week, the company said on Friday.

Coronavir's approval follows the green light for another Russian COVID-19 drug, Avifavir, in May. Both are based on favipiravir, which was developed in Japan and is widely used as the basis for viral treatments.

R-Pharm's announcement is another sign Russia is pushing hard to take a global lead in the race against the virus. It is already exporting its COVID-19 tests and has clinched several international deals for supplies of its Sputnik V vaccine.

R-Pharm said it received approval for Coronavir following Phase III clinical trials involving 168 patients with COVID-19.

R-Pharm has started talks with pharmacies about orders, the company's spokeswoman said, with Coronavir supplies expected to be rolled out in the near future, possibly as soon as next week.

Coronavir is made at R-Pharm's facility in Yaroslavl about 300 km (186 miles) northeast of Moscow. Avifavir has been available in hospitals since June but has yet to be supplied to pharmacies. (Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by David Clarke)

09/18/2020 10:32

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