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Japan ready to provide drugs for Ebola treatment

Japan announced they are ready to provide anti-influenza drug for curing Ebola disease.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stated Japan can offer favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Corp., at any time once the World Health Organization (WHO) requests.

Suga said Japan is waiting for a decision by WHO that would provide more details on the use of untested drugs.

If there’s emergency, Japan may respond to individual requests before any further decision by WHO, he added.

WHO said earlier this month that it is moral to use untested drugs for the treatment of Ebola patients during this outbreak.

The drug was developed by Fujifilm subsidiary Toyama Chemical Co. under the brand name Avigan to treat new and re-emerging influenza viruses, was approved by Japan’s health ministry in March.

Fujifilm is in talks with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on clinical testing of the drug in treating Ebola, company spokesman Takao Aoki said.

The company has enough stock of favipiravir for more than 20,000 patients, Aoki said.

He said Ebola and influenza viruses are the same type and a similar effect. Basically, it can be expected for Ebola.

Several drugs are currently being developed for the treatment of Ebola.

They are still in the early stages and there is no proven treatment or vaccine for the often deadly disease.

Favipiravir is able to slow down viral gene replication within infected cells to prevent propagation, while other anti-viral drugs are usually to restrain the release of new viral particles to prevent the expansion of infection.

Recently, two American doctors have recovered from Ebola after being treated with the experimental drug ZMapp, though it was uncertain whether they were cured by the drug.

ZMapp, developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., had never been tested on humans but only worked on some Ebola-infected monkeys.

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