Virologists at the Rega institute have compared the activity of favipiravir and hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19 in hamsters. Hamsters were selected as they develop lung pathology similar to mild COVID-19 in humans and the virus replicates itself strongly in hamsters after infection.
The hamsters were infected with COVID-19 and were either treated with favipiravir or hydroxychloroquine for four to five days. Four days later, the researchers measured how much of the virus was present in the hamsters. Following treatment with hydroxychloroquine, the hamsters were still infectious. A high dose of favipiravir had a potent effect. A few days after the treatment hardly any infectious virus particles were noted.
However, a low dose of favipiravir did not have the expected outcome. Favipiravir was administered shortly before exposing the hamsters to the virus hence the results suggest that it could be potentially used as prophylactic. Hardly any side-effects were noted in the hamsters receiving a high dose of favipiravir (already being prescribed in high doses Ebola patients, who appear to tolerate it well).
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