As the local and global search for the treatment and cure of the novel Coronavirus continues, the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, said it has developed a local drug, NIPRIMUNE, an immunomodulatory phytomedicine, for the management of COVID-19 patients in Nigeria.
Revealing the innovative discovery to pharmanewsonline in an exclusive interview, NIPRD Director General, Dr Obi Peter Adigwe, said the formulation is currently undergoing various relevant processes, that would enable it be considered as adjunct therapy in managing COVID-19.
As an immunomodulatory herbal formulation, Adigwe said the drug will be of immense assistance to people who have underlying illnesses, or whose immune systems are compromised, that are most vulnerable to COVID-19.
According to him; “So far, a significant amount of studies have been undertaken on this product and efforts are currently being made to secure the funding required to complete the necessary clinical studies in humans”.
Acknowledging that about 70 per cent of all medicines used in Nigeria are imported into the country, which negates the concept of medicines’ security, which argues that unless a people exert sufficient control over how their medicines and healthcare commodities are produced, sustainable access to relevant, affordable, high quality products cannot be guaranteed in that setting; Adigwe, expressed disappointment in Nigeria’s market share of the continental market.
Currently, Africa and indeed most of the developing world is faced with challenges associated with a lack of medicines’ security. About 70% of all medicines used in Nigeria are imported into the country, and this goes against the concept of medicines’ security that argues that unless a people exert sufficient control over how their medicines and healthcare commodities are produced, sustainable access to relevant, affordable, high quality products cannot be guaranteed in that setting.
He however expressed optimism in the post COVID-19 era in the country, saying, with proper policies, relevant prioritisation, and collaborative engagement, Nigeria can emerge Africa’s manufacturing hub, post COVID-19.
Pharmanewsoline reports that the agency had recently revealed its intention to partner various institutions at national and international levels to arrive at innovative solutions to the infection and other diseases.
Adigwe, had told Pharmanewsonline that :“With NIPRD being one of a kind in the region and also statutorily charged with the responsibility for research and development of drugs, vaccines, phytomedicines and commodities, our strategic plan is to use carefully nurtured partnerships with institutions, Nigerian and foreign universities and funding agencies to stimulate local production of excipients, pharma inputs, quality medicines and other innovative interventions for the sector”.
The NIPRD boss made the remarks during the agency’s partnership with Bloom Public Health to boost its capacity in research and development, towards arriving at quality pharmaceuticals for the use of the citizens.
He described the agreement as an African-led initiative to reshape the development of local preparations for use in the Nigerian healthcare delivery system.