Russia sets date to resume international flights, defends anti-viral drug
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian government on Friday proposed international flights should resume from July 15 after it re-opened sports facilities and restaurants, despite recording thousands of new cases, and as it continued trials of drugs to treat COVID-19.
To enter Russia, foreigners would need to have tested negative for the novel coronavirus in the last three days before their arrival, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said on Friday.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is leading the trial race with its anti-viral drug Avifavir, known in Japan, where it was first developed, as Avigan.
A Fujita Health University researcher Yohei Doi, after completing trials on 89 patients across Japan, said on Friday that Avigan yielded inconclusive results as a treatment of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
Russia’s ChemRar, Avifavir’s manufacturer and an RDIF partner, said on Friday that trials completed in Japan were preliminary and did not allow a final conclusion to be drawn.
Andrey Ivashenko, ChemRar’s board chairman, said in a statement that Avifavir has the most impact when used on early and mid-coronavirus stages and less impact if taken later.
Over 700 people took part in ChemRar-led trials, he said, and the company was in talks with Japanese manufacturer Fujifilm to share results of Russia-based trials, as well as on possible collaboration on producing the drug.
On Friday, Russia reported 6,635 new cases, down from a mid-May peak of nearly 12,000 and bringing its nationwide tally of infections to 713,936, the world’s fourth highest.
The death toll stands at 11,017 and 489,068 people have recovered. The mortality rate in May was nearly 12% higher than a year ago, the state statistics service said, and COVID-19 was recorded as the primary cause in 7,444 of the 18,375 deaths.
Reporting and photo: Reuters