The health ministry on Monday approved a monoclonal antibody-based treatment developed by GlaxoSmithKline PLC and U.S. firm Vir Biotechnology Inc., the second time it has given its OK to a drug for the treatment of mildly and moderately ill COVID-19 patients.

Sotrovimab, which is given as a single dose intravenously, became the fifth medicine approved in Japan for treating COVID-19.

A clinical trial involving 1,057 patients showed that the drug, which was granted emergency use authorization in the U.S. in May, reduced the risk of death and hospitalizations lasting longer than 24 hours by 79% compared with a placebo.