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Shionogi & Co. on Friday submitted an application for conditional early approval for Japan's first domestically developed COVID-19 pill, which the government hopes could be a “trump card” in preventing serious illness and bringing an end to the prolonged pandemic.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has signaled the central government will expedite the review process to pave the way for a swift approval if the drug's efficacy and safety are confirmed. Shionogi has said it hopes to begin shipments of the treatment as soon as the end of this month.

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