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Favipiravir: A New Medication for the Ebola Virus Disease Pandemic

  • Takashi Nagata (a1), Alan K. Lefor (a2), Manabu Hasegawa (a3) and Masami Ishii (a4)


The purpose of this report is to advocate speedy approval and less stringent regulations for the use of experimental drugs such as favipiravir in emergencies. Favipiravir is a new antiviral medication that can be used in emerging viral pandemics such as Ebola virus, 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 virus, Lassa fever, and Argentine hemorrhagic fever. Although favipiravir is one of the choices for the treatment of patients with Ebola virus, several concerns exist. First, a clinical trial of favipiravir in patients infected with the Ebola virus has not yet been conducted, and further studies are required. Second, favipiravir has a risk for teratogenicity and embryotoxicity. Therefore, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor of Japan has approved this medication with strict regulations for its production and clinical use. However, owing to the emerging Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, on August 15, 2014, the Minister of Health, Welfare and Labor of Japan approved the use of favipiravir, if needed. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-3)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Takashi Nagata, MD, Japan Medical Association Research Institute, 2-28-16 Honkomagome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8621, Japan (e-mail:


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2.Oestereich, L, Lüdtke, A, Wurr, S, et al. Successful treatment of advanced Ebola virus infection with T-705 (favipiravir) in a small animal model. Antiviral Res. 2014;105:17-21.
3.Park, S, Kim, JI, Lee, I, et al. Combination effects of peramivir and favipiravir against oseltamivir-resistant 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) infection in mice. PloS One. 2014;9(7):e101325.
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6. World Health Organization. WHO: Ebola Response Roadmap Update 17 October 2014. Accessed November 23, 2014.
7. Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device Agency, Japan. Result of the Examination for Favipiravior [in Japanese]. Accessed October 21, 2014.
8. Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor, Japan. Summary of media conference by Tamura Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor, on August 15, 2014 [in Japanese]. Accessed October 21, 2014.
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10. Fuji Film News Release. The application of Avigan on the patients infected by Ebola virus disease [in Japanese]. October 6, 2014. Accessed October 21, 2014.
11. World Medical Association. WMA Resolution on Unproven Therapy and the Ebola Virus. Adopted October 2014. Accessed October 21, 2014.
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Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • ISSN: 1935-7893
  • EISSN: 1938-744X
  • URL: /core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness
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