Vietnam’s institute succeeds in synthesising Favipiravir for COVID-19 treatment

Scientists from the Institute of Chemistry under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) have been successful in synthesising Favipiravir, an antiviral medication used to treat COVID-19.

Scientists from the Institute of Chemistry study the synthesis of Favipiravir. (Photo: Institute of Chemistry)
Scientists from the Institute of Chemistry study the synthesis of Favipiravir. (Photo: Institute of Chemistry)

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In an interview with the Government Portal, Prof., Dr. Nguyen Van Tuyen, Director of the Institute of Chemistry, said that Favipiravir has a mechanism of inhibiting the RNA-polymerase enzyme that prevents viral replication, similar to the anti-COVID-19 drug Remdesivir, but can be taken orally.

From February 2020, China was the first country to license the use of Favipiravir to treat COVID-19, followed by Russia, Japan, India and Italy.

In Vietnam, under the direction of the VAST President, in August 2020, the Institute of Chemistry formed a research group to carry out research on the effective synthesis of Favipiravir used in the treatment of COVID-19.

After six months, the team completed the lab-scale synthesis of Favipiravir.

On the basis of previously announced processes, the research team has improved and shortened the four steps and used cheaper and easier-to-find materials.

“At this point, to add drugs capable of treating COVID-19, in addition to the vaccine strategy, we propose to continue our research to perfect and improve this process to a higher level, while documenting clinical trial registration and progress to licensing for use in Vietnam," Prof., Dr. Tuyen said.

The successful construction of Favipiravir synthesis also contributes to improving the research and development capacity of Vietnamese scientists in the field of pharmaceutical chemical technology, towards self-reliance in terms of drugs to treat COVID-19 amid its prolonged and complicated development.