Remdesivir Arrives in Japan Hospitals

TOKYO – The delivery of remdesivir has started in Japanese medical institutions treating COVID-19 patients.

Health Minister Kato Katsunobu said that delivery of the antiviral drug began on Monday.

“We will ensure delivery of the medication to medical institutions so that it reaches patients who need it in a timely and appropriate manner by using web-based surveys to assess the number of subject patients at each medical institution,” he told a press conference on Tuesday.

Remdesivir, which was developed by U.S. pharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences Inc., is the first treatment approved in Japan for SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus that causes COVID-19. Its approval was fast-tracked by the Japanese government on May 7 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for it.

The drug was originally developed to treat Ebola, and is administered by injection. Its side effects include possible liver damage and nausea. - Florenda Corpuz

(Photo: Screengrab from Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare via YouTube)