March 18, 2020 / 1:42 AM / in 15 days

UPDATE 1-Fujifilm Holdings shares hit daily limit high on China coronavirus drug trial boost

(Changes attribution, recasts with Chinese announcement)

March 18 (Reuters) - Shares in Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp were untraded at their daily limit high amid a glut of buy orders on Wednesday after a Chinese official said the company's Avigan anti-flu drug appeared to help coronavirus patients recover.

Avigan, also known as Favipiravir, is manufactured by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, which has a healthcare arm though it is better known for its cameras. The treatment was approved for use in Japan in 2014.

Favipiravir has been effective, with no obvious side-effects, in helping new coronavirus patients recover, Zhang Xinmin, an official at China's Science and Technology Ministry, told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.

Fujifilm Holdings was not immediately available for comment.

In a clinical trial in Shenzhen involving 80 participants, patients who took Favipiravir showed greater chest improvement and took less time to test negative for the genomic trace of the virus, compared with patients not given the drug, Zhang said.

First developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co Ltd, the drug has been approved for manufacturing in China by Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical Co Ltd for use against new or recurring influenza in adults, the Chinese drugmaker said in a filing last month. (Reporting by Tomo Uetake in Sydney and Roxanne Liu in Beijing; Writing by Elaine Lies in Tokyo; Editing by Tom Hogue and Kenneth Maxwell)

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