Japanese pharmaceutical company, Shionogi & Co., has filed an application for emergency use authorization of its oral coronavirus drug, Xocova, to Taiwanese authorities. This marks the second time the company has sought overseas authorization for the drug, following its January application to South Korean authorities. Shionogi has also been in talks with other countries, including the United States and China, to seek authorization for the drug.

The drug was granted emergency approval in Japan in November, and an estimated 37,000 patients had taken it by mid-March, according to the company. Now, Shionogi seeks to expand the reach of Xocova, which has shown promising results in treating COVID-19.

If granted approval, Xocova would become Taiwan’s first oral COVID-19 drug. The country has relied mainly on injections to treat the virus thus far, with imported drugs like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab being used in severe cases. Xocova would offer a convenient alternative for patients and healthcare providers alike, potentially helping to reduce the burden on hospitals and healthcare systems.

Shionogi’s application comes as Taiwan grapples with a surge in COVID-19 cases, with new daily case numbers reaching record highs in recent days. The country has struggled to secure enough vaccines to protect its population, and has therefore had to rely on strict border controls and social distancing measures to contain the virus. The approval of Xocova could offer a new tool in the fight against the pandemic.

The development of oral COVID-19 drugs has been seen as a promising avenue in the search for effective treatments, as they offer a more convenient and accessible option compared to injections. Shionogi’s Xocova is one such drug, and if approved, could help to bring relief to those suffering from the virus in Taiwan and beyond.