Japan follows United States, authorises remdesivir to help COVID-19 patients in critical stages

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 08, 2020, 12:17 AM IST


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Japan has become the second country after the United States to authorise the drug as an emergency doze to treat the patients in severe cases. 

The Japanese government has decided to authorise remdesivir which is an antiviral drug to treat the coronavirus patients. 

Japan has become the second country after the United States to authorise the drug as an emergency dose to treat the patients in severe cases. 

"Remdesivir was approved under exceptional measures," a health, labour and welfare ministry official said.

"It was our country's first such approval for the treatment of coronavirus patients," the official told AFP.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government was ready to show the drug a green signal to a Gilead Sciences developed drug. 

Remdesvir, a drug administered by injection, was developed to treat Ebola and some patients who enrolled in clinical trials around the world. 

"The Japanese approval of remdesivir is in recognition of the urgent need to treat critically ill patients in Japan. It is a reflection of the exceptional circumstances of this pandemic," said Merdad Parsey, chief medical officer at Gilead Sciences.

In the US, Remdesivir is undergoing clinical trials. America's top health expert Dr Anthony Fauci says it can block the virus.

As for Avigan, formed by Japanese firm Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the government "aims to approve it this month" if a clinical test involving 100 patients proves efficient.

The drug, whose generic name is favipiravir, was certified for use in Japan in 2014 but only in flu outbreaks that are not being effectively addressed by existing medications.

It is not available on the market and can only be manufactured and distributed at the request of the Japanese government.

Favipiravir, which can be taken as a pill, works by blocking the ability of a virus to replicate inside a cell. It can be said that Favipiravir is Japan's answer to Remdesivir.