A group of researchers at the University of Tokyo says symptoms of 10 out of 11 COVID-19 patients were alleviated after taking a pancreatitis drug Futhan together with an anti-flu drug Avigan.
The team used a combination of Futhan and Avigan on the 11 patients suffering serious pneumonia in April. Futhan is normally used for acute pancreatitis, as well as other diseases that cause blood clots in various parts of the body.
One of the patients, a 75-year-old man who was on a ventilator, died. But ten others aged between 36 and 71 began to show improvement in their conditions. Seven patients who were either on an ECMO machine or a ventilator were able to breathe on their own one month later.
There have been reports in the US and Europe that some COVID-19 patients develop blood clots, that make their conditions worse.
Clinical studies are underway at the University of Tokyo Hospital and other medical facilities in Japan to confirm the safety and effectiveness of Futhan in COVID-19 treatment.
Professor Moriya Kyoji at the hospital's Infection Control and Prevention Service says the researchers want to find out if Futhan alone is effective, and if it is more effective when used with other drugs.