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The health ministry has approved the use of baricitinib, a rheumatoid drug, for treating COVID-19 patients, making it the third drug OK’d for use against the virus in the country after remdesivir and dexamethasone.

Baricitinib, sold under the brand name Olumiant, is currently administered to patients with rheumatoid arthritis or atopy. COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe symptoms will be given one dose per day of the drug.

In a clinical test, the use of baricitinib, together with remdesivir, has led to faster recovery of COVID-19 patients and lowered death rates among them.

Eli Lilly Japan K.K. applied for approval of baricitinib in December, after the drug was approved for emergency use in the United States in November.

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