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 hospitalized 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.