Japan is ready to provide an unapproved, anti-influenza drug to help treat the deadly Ebola virus, the Japanese government announced on Monday, a day after the Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in its northern Equateur province on Sunday caused by a strain different from the West Africa one, according to the health ministry.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that Japan could offer the drug any time at the request of the World Health Organization (WHO) and was willing to make an international contribution to help control the epidemic that has claimed at least 1,427 lives — mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and neighboring Guinea. There have been six outbreaks of Ebola in DRC since the disease was discovered there in 1976, with a total of more than 760 deaths.
Suga said Japan was watching for WHO's decision on further details over the use of untested drugs. In case of an emergency, Japan may respond to individual requests even before any decision by the WHO, he said.
"I am informed that medical professionals could make a request for T-705 in an emergency even before a decision by the WHO. In that case, we would like to respond under certain criteria," he said.