Arielle Busetto, JAPAN Forward

You might have heard the mantra, “We don’t have time to develop something new, let’s use medicines we already have.”

Many academics in Japan and around the world have called for further investigation into drugs currently on the market which could help fight COVID-19. In Japan, some drugs were even approved in May, and plenty of research is currently underway.

Here, we explain the various drugs currently being researched in Japan in the fight against the virus.

What are some key characteristics of the drugs currently being researched?

Many of the drugs gaining attention in Japan now were developed to tackle a virus with genetic structures similar to the novel coronavirus, namely viruses with RNA genetic material, such as Ebola or earlier strains of the virus.

Many of the researched drugs are trying to tackle the process of virus multiplication by COVID-19 inside the human body.

Which drugs are showing promise in the course of treatment in Japan?

Remdesivir, produced by the American company Gilead Sciences, is a drug that had previously failed against Ebola, but has shown promising research results in the case of COVID-10, in Japan and abroad. It was formally approved for treatment against COVID-19 in Japan on May 7 through an unusually quick process, which sought to bypass the normal channels without sacrificing research quality.

Kaletra (or Lopinavir), produced by American company Abbvie, was developed as a treatment for HIV. It is designed to act using the proteins used by the virus to multiply in the body and is currently being researched at Gunma University.

Finally, a drug normally used against bronchial asthma, Obesco, is showing promise and currently undergoing research at Center Hospital, a part of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine.

By - Ben K.