In these times of uncertainty, there’s a growing and desperate need to treat as well as find a cure for the novel coronavirus. This is true particularly for Israel as cases surge past 8,000.

Due to the increase in its numbers, Israel is launching a clinical trial of an experimental drug announced on Monday. It also is among the first countries to receive the experimental Japanese drug to treat coronavirus and is testing it at hospitals, according to the Foreign Ministry

The Jerusalem Post said that the experimental drug Avigan produced by Japan’s Fujifilm Holding Corp. was originally developed for influenza but because of the fact that it shortens the duration of the illness and decreases the likelihood of other patients in the hospital catching coronavirus, it has been helpful in treating the disease. 

“The medicine is being used in the front lines of care in Japan,” Prof. Ran Nir-Paz, an expert on infectious diseases at HadassahUniversity Medical Center in Jerusalem, said. 

He added that “The goal of Israeli research is to examine if the medicine is effective for this indication.”

Dr. Esti Sayag of Sourasky Medical Center’s Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv also commented that the Japanese drug seems to be the most effective compared to other drugs being tested for treating coronavirus patients in the early days of infection, noting that it can help flatten the curve of patients and allow hospitals to provide better care to those in worse condition.

“In this challenging time, the Foreign Ministry is on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus and are leading, together with other ministries, Israel’s efforts to find necessary medical supplies and medical solutions to the virus,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said, praising the work of the embassy in Tokyo, the Foreign Ministry and Health Ministry for bringing this research to Israel.

Currently, the drug is to be tested on a total of 80 patients at Hadassah, Sourasky, Poriah Hospital in Tiberias and Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.