The Japanese government will begin trial procedures aimed at winning approval for the anti-flu drug Avigan as a treatment for the coronavirus, Abe said. Avigan was developed by Japanese company Fujifilm Holdings.

Tablets of Avigan shown in 2014. The anti-flu drug, made by a Fujifilm unit, is now in the spotlight as a possible coronavirus treatment.

The drug has already shown signs of being effective in relieving symptoms after being administered in dozens of cases, Abe said, adding it has attracted interest from many countries. Japan “will proceed with clinical research in cooperation” with other countries and will start mass production soon.

The Chinese government also said on Tuesday that the Fuji Film made drug is effective against the new coronavirus.