Contagion Live News Network: Is Favipiravir an Option Against COVID-19?


Today's trending stories in infectious disease news.

Hello and thank you for joining Contagion. I’m assistant editor Grant Gallagher, here with a review of our coverage on Monday, May 18, 2020.

Today’s trending story is the release of positive preliminary results from Moderna’s vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2. Early indicators of safety and immune response led to cautious optimism from clinicians and a rally in the stock market.

Today we shared an interview with Dr. Armand Balboni, CEO of Appili Therapeutics.

The biotechnology company has announced that it is working with FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical on its favipiravir treatment, which is approved in Japan as an antiviral, on a new front for the drug — the global search for a pandemic treatment that can both prevent and combat COVID-19

Appili Therapeutics will sponsor a clinical trial, phase 2, evaluating favipiravir for the prevention of COVID-19.

Dr. Balboni worked with the drug when he was with the US department of defense and with the FDA during the pandemic flu and Ebola outbreaks. We discuss the drug itself and the challenges involved in navigating market incentives for mid-sized pharmaceutical entities.

In another interview, I sat down with Dr. Miriam Isola. Dr. Isola is an expert in the application of social health technologies and discussed plans around the world to roll out contact tracing apps for COVID-19. We discussed ways to address various privacy concerns and the need to make such measures voluntary.

For more on these stories and other infectious disease news, visit

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