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Russia to supply 17 more countries with COVID-19 drug Avifavir

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s sovereign wealth fund and its partner Chemrar will supply the COVID-19 drug Avifavir to 17 additional countries, the fund said in a statement on Thursday.

Avifavir gained approval from the Russian health ministry in May and is based on Favipiravir, which was developed in Japan and is widely used there as the basis for viral treatments.

Clinical trials in Japan and Russia have confirmed those drugs’ efficacy, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in a statement.

Russia is pushing hard to take a global lead in the race against the virus. It is already exporting its COVID-19 tests and has clinched several international deals for supplies of its Sputnik-V vaccine.

Avifavir has already been delivered to Belarus, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It will now be sent to Argentina, Bulgaria, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Kuwait, Panama, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, the UAE and Uruguay, the RDIF said.

Last week Russia approved R-Pharm’s Coronavir treatment for outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infections and the company said the antiviral drug could be rolled out to pharmacies in the country as soon as this week.

The RDIF said favipiravir-based drugs are three to four times cheaper than remdesivir, another COVID-19 treatment.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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