Efforts to Develop Oral COVID-19 Drugs Accelerating

Economy Science

Tokyo, Oct. 17 (Jiji Press)--Oral antiviral drugs are attracting attention as possible game changers in the battle against the novel coronavirus.

Major U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co. recently sought an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for molnupiravir, an oral antiviral drug now under development. The company is likely to file for approval from Japan's health ministry soon.

The Japanese government plans to put oral COVID-19 drugs into practical use by the end of the year. Among Japanese drugmakers, Shionogi & Co. <4507> is accelerating the development of its orally taken COVID-19 drug.

"If mildly ill COVID-19 patients can prevent their symptoms from becoming worse by taking oral drugs, the strain on the medical system would be eased," Aichi Medical University professor Hiroshige Mikamo said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has also pinned high hopes on oral drugs, saying that they "might become a key tool in the fight against the novel coronavirus."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press