The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has ordered the immediate production of Chloroquine for possible clinical treatment of Coronavirus.
Director-General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made this known in a statement made available to Politics Nigeria on Monday.
According to Adeyeye, the decision to order the production of the antimalaria drug follows the use of the drug in other countries to treat the dreaded disease.
She said: “Other researchers in France, the US have used the drug for the clinical trial treatment of COVID-19 and they reported the effectiveness of the drug.
“Lagos State will be starting a clinical trial on chloroquine to evaluate the effectiveness.”
According to her, Chloroquine was demonstrated in China to be effective in treating COVID-19. She added that the drug has side effects such as gastrointestinal upset, blurred vision, headache, and pruritis (itching).
Adeyeye added that through her regulatory activities of NAFDAC, it will ensure that the clinical trial protocol guidelines are followed and wishes the clinical research teams great success in stopping the raging pandemic.
She said: “In a very recent publication, chloroquine was reported in a press briefing by the State Council of China, indicating that chloroquine phosphate had demonstrated marked efficacy and acceptable safety in treating COVID-19 associated pneumonia in multi-center clinical trials conducted in China.
“The study involved 10 hospitals in Wuhan, Jingzhou, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Ningbo, and 100 patients.
“The investigators reported that Chloroquine phosphate is superior to the control in inhibiting pneumonia associated with COVID-19, and shortening the course of the disease. “
“About four weeks ago, I approached a local manufacturing company (May and Baker), a member of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN), whose flagship product in the past was chloroquine to make a batch of the drug for emergency stock.
“The company had NAFDAC approval for the production of the drug as antimalarial many years ago before the discontinuation.
“The Managing Director expressed possible difficulty in getting the API due to the fact that the drug has been discontinued. He called shortly after that he was able to get the API and was asked to manufacture a batch for emergency stock just in case more people become exposed and infected with the virus.
“The batch has been manufactured and the company plans to make more batches if needed.”
Adeyeye, however, advised the public not to use the drug without the guidance of a medical doctor or clinician for treatment of COVID-19.