New Developments Combat Ebola Virus Outbreak

Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever is a “severe, often fatal disease… caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae.”(CDC website). There are five variants of the virus and four that can be contracted by humans.  It is transmitted through bodily fluid and can spread quickly due to interactions with a person who has contracted the disease. As you may have heard, there is an outbreak of the Ebola virus spreading from West Africa to other countries, including the United States.The initial report of the Ebola outbreak dates back to March 10, 2014, where the Ministry of Health in Guinea was notified. There were 20 patients who contracted the disease(NE Journal of Medicine). Five months later, it was reported that the Ebola virus has an outbreak in Western Africa. The countries include Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria,and Sierra Leone.

Country Confirmed and Suspected Fatalities % of Fatalilties
Guinea 495 367 74.14%
Liberia 554 294 53.07%
Nigeria 13 2 15.38%
Sierra Leone 717 298 41.56%
Information via CDC Website

The Ebola virus has been viewed as a fatal disease, with no apparent cure in the Pharmaceutical market. In light of the outbreak, the industry has been responding with viable options for an antiviral drug. There have been several drugs looked to combat this issue. It has been reported that two American workers contracted the disease while in Western Africa. There is an American experimental drug named ZMapp that was given to the two infected America workers. The drug has yet to be approved by the FDA and there has not been updates on the Americans conditions as of August 8, 2014.

There is hope for a drug developed by a Japanese company, Fujifilm’s subsidiary, Toyama Chemical Co. The drug is “a anti-influenza tablet called favipiravir.”(WSJ). It has been formally named Avigan and has been approved by Japan and other countries in March to treat influenza(Toyama-Chemical Co.) This drug is awaiting approval for trial testing to combat the deadly disease. If approved, it can treat the hundreds of Africans exposed to the disease and resume international business.

Japan is among the leading countries in the world, overall. With the development of the Ebola drug, companies could be headed to Japan, seeking innovative drug to administer throughout the market. The government has increased expenditures on health,in relation to total government expenditures, from 16.7 in 2002 to 19.4 percent.(GHO Data Repository) This illustrates an increase in interest in the healthcare industry.

The table below describes the Global pharmaceutical top markets. As shown, Japan ranks second in the industry. It is a strong competitor in the market and with further development it can sustain as a competitor. Other countries, like China, are emerging in the industry. Japan can sustain staying power by leveraging the integration of the the Avigan product.

2012​ ​ 2010
Country​ Rank​ $ (Mill)​ Growth
Rank $ (Mill)​ Growth (%)​
USA 1 326,892 -1 1 319,552 6
Japan ​ 2 112,067 0​ 2 96,355 7
China ​ 3 81,698​ 22 3 54,865 21
Germany​ 4 42,333 -6 4 42,181 2
France ​ 5 36,674 -8 5 38,529 -5
Brazil ​ 6 29,112 ​ -6​ 7 26,259 38
Italy 7 26,231 ​ -8 6 26,639 -2
Canada ​ 8 21,877 -2 9 21,655 13
UK ​ 9 21,635 0 10 20,297 2
Spain ​​ 10 19,935 -12​ 8 22,220 -2

The Avigan product can be a revolutionary drug to combat diseases that were once assumed to be fatal. Japan has the ability to sustain as a leading pharmaceutical country with developments like this.