The Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye yesterday confirmed that chloroquine drugs contain an active ingredient that can help in the treatment of coronavirus.
Speaking on the agency’s activities towards the containment of COVID-19 in Nigeria, Mojisola said that several studies and clinical trials had shown that proper application of chloroquine can help in the treatment as it contains anti-viral property which prevent replication of the virus.
“NAFDAC as the agency had initially communicated the Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on the efficacy of chloroquine even before the United States President, Donald Trump made a public announcement. Chloroquine which is an old anti-malarial drug that had been banned in Nigeria due to the malaria parasite resistance and other side effects has anti-viral property, anti-inflammatory and anti-malaria property.
It will be recalled that in 2005, chloroquine was banned as a first-line treatment for malaria because of the resistance to the malaria parasite and other side effects.
Mojisola revealed that the recent clinical trial carried out in China which involved 100 patients from 10 hospitals across six cities involved the use of chloroquine had shown that chloroquine prevents the virus from replicating; it prevents the attachment of the virus to a receptor. It reduces the viral load and shortens the time of getting better.
She disclosed that chloroquine was banned in Nigeria for malaria treatment because the malaria parasite had developed resistance against the drug but said they may grant emergency approval to the manufacturers if the need arises.
“We have established contact with the company that can help to produce chloroquine if the need arises, but chloroquine should be used on the advice of a medical doctor and confirm exposure to COVID-19 because it has its own side effect. She warned that Nigerians should not use chloroquine without clearance from the doctor.