Mumbai-based Glenmark Saturday became the first pharmaceutical company in India to get approval for the manufacture and marketing of antiviral drug favipiravir, one of the medicines that are being explored as a potential treatment for Covid-19. 
The Drugs Controller General of India had reportedly approved the medicine for “restricted emergency use” as Covid-19 treatment Friday. 
Glenmark said in a press statement as well as a media conference Saturday that the drug is advised for mild to moderate Covid-19 cases. 
According to the company, the drug will be launched commercially next week and is likely to be available across chemist outlets, on prescription, by the end of the month. It will be priced at Rs 103 per tablet The dosage is prescribed as 1800mg twice on day 1, and from day 2 to day 14, 800mg is prescribed twice daily
The antiviral medication was developed in Japan and subsequently approved for use among influenza patients. Favipiravir is among the drugs under trial for Covid-19 treatment along with Ebola drug redeliver, a combination of HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir, as well as a combination of the latter two drugs with Interferon-beta.
Currently, the drug is the subject of at least 18 clinical trials involving more than 3,000 patients across India, USA, Canada, Italy, China, France, UK and other countries. 
Early trials on the drug in China, involving 340 patients, produced encouraging outcomes in Wuhan and Shenzhen.
An 18 March report in The Guardian quoted a Chinese health official as saying that “the use of favipiravir showed definite improvements in lung condition in 91 per cent of the patients treated with it, compared to 62 per cent of those treated without the drug”.
In another observational study involving over 2,000 patients with mild to moderate symptoms in Japan, those given favipiravir reportedly showed clinical improvement of up to 74 per cent by the seventh day and up to 88 per cent by the 14th day.