22 June 2020

The Japanese health ministry has approved low-cost and widely available steroid drug, dexamethasone, for the treatment of patients suffering from Covid-19. The ministry included dexamethasone as a government-approved drug in a recent version of its handbook. This marks the second approval for a Covid-19 treatment in the country, following the authorisation of Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir in May.

South Korea-based SK Bioscience has signed a manufacturing agreement with AstraZeneca to support global supplies of the latter’s Covid-19 vaccine, reported Reuters. According to the terms of the agreement, SK Bioscience will manufacture undiluted solutions of the vaccine candidate. The production contract is set to start this month and will run until early next year, with an option for extension based on success of the vaccine development.

Brazil has approved clinical trials of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, making this product the third experimental vaccine to enter Covid-19 trials in the country. Brazilian health regulator Anvisa previously granted approval for vaccine candidates developed in the UK and China.