COVID-19: NAFDAC approves clinical trials of Chloroquine in Lagos

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has ordered the manufacturing of Chloroquine for an emergency stock for clinical treatment of Coronavirus.

The agency’s Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye said that the decision was made to toe the path of other countries that had adopted the drug for treating Covid-19.

In an interview on Channels Television on Monday, Adeyeye noted that the clinical trials of the old antimalarial drugs would start in Lagos where the highest figures have been recorded so far.

“Lagos State will be starting a clinical trial on chloroquine to evaluate the effectiveness.

“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,” she said.

NCDC warns Nigerians against use of chloroquine for COVID-19

She noted that China had demonstrations that showed chloroquine was effective in treating COVID-19.

“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-centre 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. 

She noted that chloroquine had been discontinued in Nigeria many years ago for use as anti-malarial because of parasitic resistance, but added that NAFDAC had approached a local manufacturer to make a batch of the drug.

“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,” she stated.

Regulatory activities of NAFDAC would be put in place to ensure that the clinical trial followed the laid-down protocol.

She observed that despite initial difficulties of the company to get the API since the production had been discontinued, they eventually got it and had manufactured a batch for the emergency stock, and was ready to make more if infections increase.

NAFDAC, however, advised the public to desist from the use of Chloroquine without the guidance of a medical doctor or clinician for treatment of COVID-19, noting that the drug has severe side effects including gastrointestinal upset, blurred vision, headache, and pruritis (itching).

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