Japan Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference on Tuesday that government will provide Avigan free of charge to 38 countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia and the Netherlands, as the drug is thought to be effective in treating the new coronavirus
Japan has received requests for provision of the new influenza drug from more than 70 countries, according to the ministry.
The government will provide the drug within the framework of an emergency aid grant totaling $1 million (about ¥110 million). Avigan will be shipped to countries in the order in which they complete procedures to receive it. The U.N. agency will be responsible for transporting them.
As a condition of providing Avigan, the Japanese government will ask the countries to provide data including the effects of administering it, as this information will be used in Japan to improve understanding of the drug.
“There are a few cases in which the drug has possibly been effective in treating patients,” Motegi said.
“We would like to expand clinical research not only in Japan but also internationally.”
On the other hand, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has compiled guidelines for medical institutions across the country to participate in the research for approval of Avigan, notifying them of the guidelines on Monday.
The move is aimed at quickly collecting as much clinical data as possible to accelerate the analysis.
According to the ministry, about 1,100 medical institutions have already participated in the research and administered the drug to more than 2,000 people.
There are several conditions for using Avigan for research purposes: for example, being approved in advance by the ethics review committee of each medical institution; obtaining consent from patients; and providing data to the health ministry.
The recent notification to medical institutions includes the details of the procedures required to meet these conditions.
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