If not because of lack of funds, Nigeria could have, in the next few months, launch an indigenous Covid-19 drug discovered by Nigerian scientists working at the Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).
The NIPRD scientists have gotten a drug- Niprimune, which is said to have the capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. It has passed the first stage by getting listing from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).The listing of the drug by NAFDAC indicates that the drug is safe for human consumption.
The scientists are, however, worried that NIPRD does not have the needed funds to conduct the clinical study for the product for it to be certified effective and accepted globally.
Clinical study of any drug, according to medical experts, is a highly capital intensive aspect of any drug discovery process.
Speaking to journalists, the Director General of NIPRD, Dr. Obi Adigwe, lamented that his institute does not have the kind of funds needed to undertake clinical trial for the drug.
He explained that the potential COVID-19 drug- Niprimune “is a product that helps to build the immune system.
“Therefore, in any disease condition which needs to boost the immune system, this product will help any clinician to achieve their clinical question.”
While appealing for support from both local and international funding partners, Dr. Adigwe said: “The listing of NIPRD’s Niprimune by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is one of our key performance indicators as an institute that we are proud and elated that we have been able to achieve that performance indicator.
“This particular product has been a low hanging fruit for sometimes and for it to get a level where NAFDAC using its independent International Standard Organisation(ISO) certified laboratories and validated some of the data that come from this institute indicated that we know what we are doing here.
“Getting the listing number for the product is just the first step in the journey that we are having.
“The next step is for us to begin the clinical study that will demonstrate that this product is not only safe but it is also effective in the management of COVID-19.
“However, to undertake this clinical study, NIPRD does not have the kind of funding required. We are looking for funding partners to support us in that direction.”