July 21, 2020 / 11:40 PM / 18 days ago

Japan approves dexamethasone as coronavirus treatment

TOKYO, July 22 (Reuters) - Japan’s health ministry has approved dexamethasone, a cheap and widely used steroid, as a second treatment of COVID-19 after a trial in Britain showed the drug reduced death rates in hospitalised patients.

The ministry included dexamethasone as an option for treatment along with antiviral drug remdesivir in a recent revision to its handbook. The revision was widely reported by Japanese media on Wednesday.

In results announced last month, a trial by researchers in the United Kingdom showed dexamethasone as the first drug to save lives of COVID-19 patients in what scientists said was a major breakthrough in the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan’s Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical Co is among those that produce the drug. (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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