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COVID-19: NAFDAC approves production of chloroquine for clinical trial

THE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Friday has approved the production of chloroquine for clinical trials in preventing the spread of  COVID-19. 

Director-General of the agency, Mojisola Adeyeye, has disclosed this at the NAFDAC headquarters in Lagos.

Adeyeye, however, clarified that the approval of chloroquine for clinical trial does not equate its usage for the treatment of coronavirus in Nigeria.

“In the case of Chloroquine, it has been demonstrated in the literature and with clinical research which is still ongoing, that Chloroquine is superior to the Placebo.

“NAFDAC is not approving Chloroquine as a product that can be used for Coronavirus because there is no submission to us for registration but because it is under clinical trials, NAFDAC approves medicines meant for clinical trials.

“Therefore the medicine is being approved just for the clinical trials,” Adeyeye said, calling on experts and researchers interested in doing a clinical trial on Chloroquine to approach approved outlets. 

“Right now, we have asked one company to make a batch of Chloroquine for the purpose of a clinical trial.

“Nobody should use chloroquine as anti-malaria because of the resistance that has been proven to develop in the past after the use of chloroquine in the population,” the NAFDAC DG said.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reportedly listed chloroquine among four drugs identified for a multinational clinical trial as part of efforts to find a cure to the pandemic.

The trial is code-named Solidarity Trial.

“The drugs to be tested are antiviral drug remdesivir; a combination of two HIV drugs – lopinavir and ritonavir, lopinavir and ritonavir plus interferon beta and the antimalaria drug chloroquine,” report says.

“All show some evidence of effectiveness against SARS-CoV 2 virus, which causes Covid-19, either in vitro and/or animal studies.”

WHO said the four drugs or a combination of an existing drug used to cure other ailments would be tested while 10 nations already signified interest in the clinical trial.

However, the federal government had expressed indifference about the use of chloroquine as a cure for the novel coronavirus in Nigeria.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Enanire in a press conference earlier on Friday in Abuja, noted that although chloroquine had effectively yielded a positive outcome on the surface through on In-Vitro test that is conducted on the outside of the human surface, it has not been confirmed to effectively cure the COVID-19 when an In-Vivo test is done inside the human body.

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