A study published on October 9, 2020 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and which was carried out in hamsters showed that high doses of favipiravir, a drug indicated for influenza, significantly decreased the concentrations of Sars-CoV-2, virus that causes Covid-19, in the lungs of guinea pigs.
Research has also shown that the drug reduced the transmission of the virus by direct contact, while hydroxychloroquine, a drug commonly used to treat malaria, failed as prophylaxis. However, further clinical studies are still needed to examine whether it is possible that a similar antiviral effect is observed in humans without toxic effects.
To conduct the study, scientists selected a species of hamster that becomes infected quickly and develops a mild lung disease, which is very similar to the early stages of Covid-19 in humans.
The treatment was carried out for four days with favipiravir or hydroxychloroquine in the sick animals and for five days in healthy guinea pigs to check if any of them could prevent contamination. Of the eight animals that received higher doses of the flu medicine, six did not have the virus in their lungs after treatment.