Japan plans to ship the anti-flu drug Avigan to 43 countries after its holiday period ends this Wednesday. The drug is seen as a potential treatment for people infected with the coronavirus.

Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu said on Friday that nearly 80 countries have requested free supplies of Avigan, which was developed by a Japanese company.

He said the first batches will be delivered to the 43 countries through a UN organization. Recipient countries will then send clinical trial data to Japan.

Motegi said taming the pandemic will require the development of effective remedies in the short term. He said there are hopes that Avigan will serve as an early-stage treatment for the coronavirus.

Motegi added that Japan will press ahead with public-private partnerships and international cooperation in the search for curative drugs.
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