Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, has revealed that reliable researches has shown that chloroquine is an effective treatment of COVID-19 at the early stage of infection.
Adeyeye made this known on Tuesday, August 25 during a virtual news conference in Abuja.
In June, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew its approval for the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.
The FDA had said the drugs may not be effective for the infection and may have an adverse effect when used.
However, the NAFDAC DG has now said chloroquine can be used prophylactically and that countries like Ghana and Senegal have also embraced the clinical use of the drug for treatment.
She further stated that remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences Inc, has also been shown to be effective against the virus at late stages.
The NAFDAC boss however noted the cost for treating people with chloroquine was way cheaper than remdesivir. While remdesivir cost $2,500 to treat an average patient, chloroquine only cost $10.
In the cells, in the lab, remdesivir and chloroquine killed covid-19. At what stage would they be more effective? We didn’t know at that point. Now we are realising that chloroquine is effective at the early stage. I was watching CNN about 4 or 5 days ago, and there is this surgeon – Sanjay Gupta. For the first time he mentioned that chloroquine can be used prophylactically.
He noted that;
I said – maybe chloroquine can work. I made the press briefing, and stated that it is only for clinical trial treatment because until you do a very robust clinical trial, you cannot say that it is going to work.
Remember, remdesivir and chloroquine work in the cells. Chloroquine was proven to work in 100 patients. We did not know at that time that the disease has about four phases – pre-exposure stage, early stage, mild stage, and the severe stage.
When we now got the profile of remdesivir, what was recorded in literature and from the manufacturer was that remdesivir doesn’t work at the early stage. It works at the late stage.
But when viruses are in the tube in the laboratory, you won’t know which is late or which is early. Both killed them. We are now understanding that it is not only one drug that can be effective for covid-19 but it depends on the stage and the phases of the disease.
Adeyeye also revealed that the agency has received 40 applications for the approval of herbal formulations for the treatment of COVID-19.
Forty herbal formulations were currently undergoing review to ensure their safety for use. If not well researched, herbal medicine could kill fast.
Prof. Maurice Iwu’s application for approval of herbal medicine for the management of COVID-19 is also part of the 40 applications we are reviewing for safety. We use an animal for safety test to ensure the formulation will not kill anybody.
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