Japan could offer unapproved Ebola drug

Japan would like to offer a drug to help treat the deadly Ebola virus before the World Health Organization officially rules on its use, the country`s top government spokesman said on Monday.

Reuters| Last Updated: Aug 25, 2014, 13:56 PM IST

Tokyo: Japan would like to offer a drug to help treat the deadly Ebola virus before the World Health Organization officially rules on its use, the country`s top government spokesman said on Monday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that Japan has received inquiries from some countries on the influenza drug favipiravir, or T-705 as it is known in the developmental code.

"I am informed that medical professionals could make a request for T-705 in an emergency even before a decision (on approval) by the WHO. In that case, we would like to respond under certain criteria," he said.

Japan`s Fujifilm Holdings Corp and U.S. partner MediVector are in talks with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to submit an application to expand the use of favipiravir as a treatment for Ebola.

Following Suga`s comments, Fujifilm shares rose 4.0 percent, edging near a four-year peak hit earlier this month. They were the eighth most actively traded shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange`s main board.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed more than 1,000 people and prompted the WHO to declare an international health emergency.