Researchers at Stanford began enrollment this week for a new study of an oral antiviral medication to treat people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 on an outpatient basis.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will use a drug called favipiravir, which was first approved to treat influenza in Japan. Study researchers say they hope it will be able to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms, and the viral shedding that enables people to spread the novel coronavirus.
“We hope that this drug can help to reduce transmission within families, groups and schools,” said study investigator Dr. Aruna Subramanian in a statement. “Plus, it would be really nice to have pills that can be given early on to make people get better faster.”
Favipiravir has been approved to treat COVID-19 in Russia, China and India, but has not been authorized by the FDA for use in the United States. Researchers say the drug works by blocking the virus' ability to replicate itself, and is likely more effective the earlier it's taken.
People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 72 hours can enroll in the study by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.