The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has caused significant morbidity and mortality among infected individuals across the world. High transmissibility rate of the causative virus – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – has led to immense strain and bottlenecking of the health care system. While noteworthy advances in vaccine development have been made amid the current global pandemic, most therapeutic agents are repurposed from use in other viral infections and are being evaluated for efficacy in COVID-19. Favipiravir, an orally administered drug originally developed in Japan against emerging influenza viral strains, has been shown to have widespread application and safety across multiple ribonucleic acid (RNA) viral infections. With a strong affinity toward the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), favipiravir could be a promising therapy against SARS-CoV-2, by targeting downstream viral RNA replication. Initial trials for usage in COVID-19 have suggested that favipiravir administration during initial infection stages, in individuals with mild to moderate infection, has a strong potential to improve clinical outcomes. However, additional well-designed clinical trials are required to closely examine ideal timing of drug administration, dosage, and duration, to assess the role of favipiravir in COVID-19 therapy. This review provides evidence-based insights and throws light on the current clinical trials examining the efficacy of favipiravir in tackling COVID-19, including its mechanism, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacokinetics.
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