Avigan (generic name: Favipiravir)) is an anti-influenza drug manufactured by Toyama Chemical Company, a subsidiary of the Japanese Fujifilm Holdings Corp. It will be used by the Department of Health in a clinical trial to test its efficacy and safety in the treatment of Covid-19.
Antiviral drugs primarily prevent viruses from entering body cells. Avigan differs from these drugs by interfering with the reproduction process of viruses. It is effective against influenza viruses, including those that are resistant to antiviral drugs currently being used. It is considered to have a broad spectrum of antiviral activities, effective against other so-called ribonucleic acids (RNA) viruses arenaviruses, bunyaviruses, and filoviruses, which can cause deadly hemorrhagic fever, viral infections characterized by bleeding complications.
Side effects of the drug include birth defects.
Real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)
All organisms have proteins called nucleotides and these are arranged in unique sequences. These sequences act as the code for proteins to be produced, and these will define or form the characteristics of an organism. Organisms differ in genetic codes and in the number of nucleotides. Humans have about 30 billion nucleotides while the SARS CoV-2 virus has only about 26 to 30,000. Genetic codes are contained in RNA or deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA). RNA is generally one strand while DNA has two strands. SARS-CoV-2 has only RNA. The genomic sequence of the virus was decoded on January 2020. Decoding made it possible for laboratories to reproduce the virus.
Sometimes called “molecular photocopying,” the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a fast and inexpensive technique used to “amplify” or copy small segments of DNA. Because significant amounts of a sample of DNA are necessary for molecular and genetic analyses, studies of isolated pieces of DNA are nearly impossible without PCR amplification. Since the coronavirus only has RNA, reverse transcription has to be done to “amplify” or copy the virus and create DNA that will be detected by polymerase chain reaction.
Often heralded as one of the most important scientific advances in molecular biology, PCR revolutionized the study of DNA to such an extent that its creator, Kary B. Mullis, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993.