A Japanese pharmaceutical company has applied for government approval to use its anti-flu drug Avigan to treat COVID-19 patients.
Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, which is part of the Fujifilm Holdings group of companies, filed the application with Japan's health ministry on Friday.
The firm last month announced the results of a clinical trial involving coronavirus patients. It said those who took Avigan recovered from their symptoms and tested negative 2.8 days earlier than those given a placebo.
The company added that it found no new safety concerns regarding the drug, other than possible known side effects.
The Fujifilm group says it will work to deliver the drug to COVID-19 patients as soon as possible and to help contain the spread of the virus.
In Japan, the antiviral drug remdesivir, used to treat patients infected with Ebola, has been approved as an effective treatment option for COVID-19. The steroid dexamethasone has also been added as an option.
Health minister Tamura Norihisa told reporters that his ministry will carefully consider Avigan's safety and effectiveness before making a final decision.
He said he's not sure how long it will take to examine the drug, as he has not seen the submitted data. But he added that he is aware of the urgency.