SWITZERLAND, MAY 05 – Japan has approved antiviral drug, Remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19, the health ministry said on Thursday, making it the country’s first officially authorized drug for the coronavirus disease.
Remdesivir was produced by American biopharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences Inc, and Japan reached the decision just three days after the company filed for fast-track approval for the treatment.
According to a Japanese health ministry official who spoke at a press conference, Remdesivir will be given to patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms, and with no other approved treatments for COVID-19, interest in the drug is growing around the world.
Remdesivir was granted authorisation last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use for the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Japan, with just over 16,000 infections and under 800 deaths, has fewer cases than other major industrialized nations.
However, a steady rise in cases has put pressure on medical facilities in some parts of the country, and drug that helps patients recover more quickly could help in freeing up hospital beds.