(updates with rise in Fujifilm shares)
TOKYO Aug 25 Japan would like to offer a drug
to help treat the deadly Ebola virus before the World Health
Organization officially rules on its use, the country's top
government spokesman said on Monday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news
conference that Japan has received inquiries from some countries
on the influenza drug favipiravir, or T-705 as it is known in
the developmental code.
"I am informed that medical professionals could make a
request for T-705 in an emergency even before a decision (on
approval) by the WHO. In that case, we would like to respond
under certain criteria," he said.
Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp and U.S. partner
MediVector are in talks with the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration to submit an application to expand the use of
favipiravir as a treatment for Ebola.
Following Suga's comments, Fujifilm shares rose 4.0 percent,
edging near a four-year peak hit earlier this month. They were
the eighth most actively traded shares on the Tokyo Stock
Exchange's main board.
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed more than 1,000
people and prompted the WHO to declare an international health
(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Tomo Uetake; Editing by Chris
Gallagher and Jeremy Laurence)