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Shionogi & Co. has said it aims to complete the final-phase clinical trial for its oral COVID-19 drug in December and start supplying it by the end of March next year.

The drugmaker will establish by the end of March 2022 a production system that can make doses of the orally taken medicine for at least 1 million people.

“We want to start delivering our safe oral drug in around January to March” next year, Shionogi President Isao Teshirogi told a news conference on Wednesday.

The new drug, intended for COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms, curbs the replication of the coronavirus inside the body. The medicine, when taken once a day for five days in the early stage of infection, is expected to be effective in preventing patients from developing severe symptoms.

On Monday, the company started the final-phase clinical trial, which involves around 2,100 coronavirus patients including those who are hospitalized and those staying at hotels designated as facilities to host COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, Shionogi plans to launch in October the final-phase clinical trial in Japan for its COVID-19 vaccine, aiming to have it ready for administration by the end of March next year.

The company will also start trials for its nasal spray vaccine in fiscal 2022, which will start in April next year.

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