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Coronavirus

Japan greenlights dexamethasone as second coronavirus treatment

Cheap anti-inflammatory wins fast-track approval after slashing mortality rates in UK hospital trial

A pharmacist holds an ampule of dexamethasone at a hospital in Belgium.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The Japanese health ministry has authorized the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone to treat severe cases of COVID-19 after the inexpensive steroid lowered fatalities by roughly a third in a British trial, marking the second time a candidate has won fast-track approval.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare revised a handbook Friday to list dexamethasone as an option, following up on Japan's expedited approval in May of the antiviral drug remdesivir. Recipients of either treatment will be covered by insurance.

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