Favipiravir: a new medication for the Ebola virus disease pandemic

Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2015 Feb;9(1):79-81. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2014.151. Epub 2014 Dec 29.


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.

Keywords: Human.

MeSH terms

  • Amides / adverse effects
  • Amides / therapeutic use*
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disaster Planning
  • Drug Approval
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Pyrazines / adverse effects
  • Pyrazines / therapeutic use*


  • Amides
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Pyrazines
  • favipiravir