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Japan’s Takeda Pharma says it is developing coronavirus drug

FILE PHOTO: A Takeda logo is seen in its research hub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Julie Steenhuysen

TOKYO (Reuters) – Takeda Pharmaceutical Co said on Wednesday it was developing a drug to treat COVID-19, the flu-like illness that has struck more than 90,000 people worldwide and killed over 3,000.

The Japanese drug maker is working on a plasma-derived therapy to treat high-risk individuals infected with the new coronavirus and will share its plans with members of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, it said in a statement.

Takeda is also studying whether its currently marketed and pipeline products may be effective treatments for infected patients.

“We will do all that we can to address the novel coronavirus threat…(and) are hopeful that we can expand the treatment options,” Rajeev Venkayya, president of Takeda’s vaccine business, said in the statement.

Takeda said it was in talks with various health and regulatory agencies and healthcare partners in the United States, Asia and Europe to move forward its research into the drug.

Its research requires access to the blood of people who have recovered from the respiratory disease or who have been vaccinated, once a vaccine is developed, Takeda said.

Reporting by Junko Fujita and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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