AstraZeneca Files for Approval for COVID-19 Drug in Japan

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The company logo for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 8, 2019.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A Japanese unit of British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC said Thursday that it has applied for health ministry approval for the manufacture and sale of its COVID-19 prevention and treatment drug in Japan.

AstraZeneca K.K., the Osaka-based unit, seeks fast-track approval for the AZD7442 drug, known abroad as Evusheld.

The drug is expected to be administered to people who cannot receive existing COVID-19 vaccines due to problems arising from their physical predispositions or other factors.

AZD7442 is a combination of two antibodies against the novel coronavirus. An international clinical trial showed an 83% decrease in the risk of developing COVID-19 symptoms six months after it is administered.

The drug’s efficacy has been confirmed also against the new BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants of the coronavirus. The drug has so far been approved for emergency or other use in the United States, Britain and other European nations.