Systematic Review on Repurposing Use of Favipiravir Against SARS-CoV-2

Mymensingh Med J. 2020 Jul;29(3):747-754.


The sudden outbreak of a novel coronavirus in 2019 in Wuhan, China, that rapidly provoked a global concern, marked as the third attack of corona virus in the human society that affected the global healthcare system as well as the global economy. Until and unless an effective vaccine is discovered against the virus, the pharmacological intervention by different antivirals is in the run for remedy. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the role of favipiravir along with its safety and efficacy for the patients who are suffering from severe acute respiratory distress syndrome due to CoronaVirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) as re-purposeful use. We searched PubMed, EMBASE for randomized controlled trials (RCTs), for registered on going trails to evaluate the pros and cons of using favipiravir in COVID-19. After vigorous searching, screening and sorting of 314 articles for completed and published scientific evidences in electronic database, there were only 2 completed and published randomized control trials (RCT) and 17 ongoing or unpublished trials found until June 2020. The main outcome measures were viral clearance, clinical improvement and adverse events reported and published on 147 patients infected with SARS-CoV2. The 2 completed RCTs showed significantly better treatment effects on disease progression, viral clearance, improved the latency to relief for pyrexia and cough on favipiravir treated patients. Adverse effects caused Favipiravir are mild and manageable. Although 9 more RCTs and cohort studies are supposed to be completed by this time that may unveil some evidence for use of anti-RNA-viral drug favipiravir against influenza or Ebola to re-purposing against COVID-19 as adopted in different treatment guidelines.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Amides / therapeutic use*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • China
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Drug Repositioning*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pyrazines / therapeutic use*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Amides
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Pyrazines
  • favipiravir

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 drug treatment