Japan approves its first homemade oral COVID drug

TOKYO, Nov 23 (Nikkei) - Japan's health ministry on Tuesday granted emergency use of a COVID-19 drug developed by Shionogi, making it the country's first domestically produced oral medicine for patients with mild symptoms. The drug is expected to be available for use in early December.

The ministry says the drug, Xocova, is effective in speeding up recovery from symptoms. According to data Shionogi released from the final stage of its clinical trials in September, patients who took the drug once a day for five straight days recovered from symptoms such as runny noses and high temperatures in seven, rather than eight days. A fall in virus load was also reported.

Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has signed a contract with Shionogi to supply the drugs for 1 million people.

In anticipation of a new wave of infection, the drug will likely be supplied to hospitals and clinics as soon as possible. Supply will be stable given that the drug is produced in Japan. Children under the age of 12 and pregnant women or women of childbearing potential cannot use it. ...continue reading