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Japan approves its first homemade oral COVID drug

Shionogi's Xocova to be used on patients with mild symptoms

Shionogi has a contract with Japan's health ministry to produce Xocova for 1 million patients. (Photo by Yo Inoue)

TOKYO -- Japan's health ministry on Tuesday granted emergency use of a COVID-19 drug developed by Shionogi, making it the country's first domestically produced oral medicine for patients with mild symptoms. The drug is expected to be available for use in early December.

The ministry says the drug, Xocova, is effective in speeding up recovery from symptoms. According to data Shionogi released from the final stage of its clinical trials in September, patients who took the drug once a day for five straight days recovered from symptoms such as runny noses and high temperatures in seven, rather than eight days. A fall in virus load was also reported.

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