Japan on Thursday authorised the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients, the government said, with an eye to approving another medication Avigan this month.
This makes Japan the second country to approve the drug after US regulators authorised it on Friday for emergency use against severe cases of COVID-19.
“Remdesivir was approved under exceptional measures,” a health, labour and welfare ministry official said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last week the government was getting ready to give a speedy green light to the experimental drug developed by US firm Gilead Sciences.
The US go-ahead came after a major clinical trial showed remdesivir — originally developed to treat Ebola — shortened the time to recovery in some patients by a third.
The difference in mortality rate was not statistically significant.
Remdesivir, which is administered by injection, was already available to some patients who enrolled in clinical trials around the world.