Japan's health ministry has approved the use of an antibody cocktail to prevent COVID-19 symptoms.
The ministry in July approved the intravenous use of the cocktail, which combines two types of antibodies, for high-risk patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
Chugai Pharmaceutical, the drug's distributor in Japan, had applied for expanding its use to include prevention.
The company cited the results of overseas clinical trials that show an 81 percent reduction in the risk of symptomatic coronavirus infections among people who were in close contact with infected family members.
On Friday, the health ministry approved the use of the antibody cocktail. It is limiting the use to household exposure and asymptomatic cases. The ministry has stipulated that use in principle must be limited to those who are at risk of developing severe symptoms if infected.
The ministry stressed that vaccination is the first line of defense for any infectious disease and has limited the cocktail's use to those who can't rely on vaccines.
It also approved subcutaneous administration, which takes less time than intravenous infusion.