The Japanese health ministry is moving to approve Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug remdesivir to treat domestic COVID-19 patients, reported The Japan Times.
If given the go-ahead, remdesivir would become Japan's first recognized remedy for the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
"I heard that the company will file an application for approval in a few days," said health minister Katsunobu Kato, adding "I've instructed officials to be prepared to be able to grant an approval in about a week once the application is made."
After receiving the application from Gilead, the health ministry will collect opinions on safety and other aspects of the drug at a meeting of its Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council.
However, the government has not applied the special approval system to Fujifilm's influenza drug Avigan, because its sales prospects overseas are unclear. Instead, the government is proceeding with clinical trials, the news source said.
Avigan, which was developed by Fujifilm's Toyama Chemical Co. unit, is viewed as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
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