A group of researchers at the University of Tokyo has started clinical trials of a drug that could possibly treat people infected with the coronavirus.
Nafamostat mesylate is normally used for acute pancreatitis and other diseases that create blood clots. It is marketed under the brand name Futhan.
There have been reports of the conditions of some coronavirus carriers deteriorating after blood clots formed in their bodies.
The tests are being conducted on 160 patients with pneumonia stemming from the coronavirus at the University of Tokyo Hospital and five other medical facilities in Japan.
The patients are divided into two groups. One group is administered Futhan and anti-flu drug Avigan. The other is given only Avigan.
The researchers want to see if Futhan is an effective and safe treatment for coronavirus symptoms. They say laboratory tests showed it may be able to suppress the proliferation of the virus.
University of Tokyo Professor Inoue Junichiro is involved in the trials. He says he hopes they produce good results, so the drug can help treat many COVID-19 patients.