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NAFDAC confirms use of chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment

Mojisola-Adeyeye

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has confirmed the use of chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.

The agency, however, noted that chloroquine could be administered in the early stage of the COVID-19 infection as prophylactic treatment.

NAFDAC Director-General, Professor Christianah Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed this at an online interactive session with journalists on Tuesday, August 25.

She said, “We realise that chloroquine can be used in the early stage of the COVID-19 infection as prophylactic treatment. Science does not lie.

“On March 20, 2020 during a press briefing, I said I was going through literature and I found (out) that chloroquine and remdesivir killed COVID-19 in vitro – that is in the laboratory.

“In early March, there was a publication where 100 patients were treated with chloroquine in 10 hospitals across Chinese cities.

“I made a statement that chloroquine is only for clinical trial treatment. There has to be a level of confidence that depends on the number of subjects and results.”

Speaking further she said, “We did not know that the disease has four stages that include pre-exposure, early stage, severe stage, and post-infection. At what stage that chloroquine will be more effective, we did not know at that time.

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“We are now understanding that it is not one drug that can be effective for COVID-19. It depends on the phase of the disease. We started working with Lagos State on clinical trial for chloroquine. We are getting to know that that it is working.

“My colleague in Ghana has a robust study on chloroquine use on COVID-19 patients that is going to be released soon. Also, several people that had COVID-19 in Senegal recovered after using the drug.”

She also said that the director-general of Senegal’s drug regulatory body, who is also the director-general of the regional regulatory body, “ordered chloroquine from a company in Ota, Ogun State and distributed it to 15 member-countries.”

She said, “I know Ghana is using it. If something is effective prophylactically, it means that the disease will not progress.”

She also spoke on reports of rising cases of adulterated drugs and medical products in the country saying:

“We had problems of fake drugs and Tramadol between 2011 and May 2018 because of porous borders.

“There has not been a robust study, but we know they are there. Seventy per cent of our products are from South East Asia.”

She said the way out, she said the agency would need “a detection device for exact information,” because “Falsified medicines bring burden to our laboratories.”

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