By Chioma Obinna & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—THE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has ordered the manufacturing of Chloroquine for emergency stock for possible clinical trial treatment of coronavirus in the country.
Director General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, in a statement yesterday, said the directive was sequel to claims in some quarters that “Chloroquine, an old antimalarial is being re-purposed for the clinical trial treatment of coronavirus 2019-nCoV.“
The statement read: “In a very recent publication, chloroquine was reported in a press briefing by the State Council of China, indicating that chloroquine phosphate had demonstrated marked efficacy and acceptable safety in treating COVID-19 associated pneumonia in a multi-center clinical trials conducted in China.
“The study involved 10 hospitals in Wuhan, Jingzhou, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Ningbo, and 100 patients. The investigators reported that chloroquine phosphate is superior to the control in inhibiting the pneumonia associated with COVID-19, and shortening the course of the disease.
“Chloroquine was discontinued in Nigeria many years ago for use as antimalarial because of the resistance that the parasite developed against the drug. Therefore, sourcing the raw material – active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) – chloroquine phosphate could be difficult.
“About four weeks ago, I approached a local manufacturing company (May and Baker), a member of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN), whose flagship product in the past was chloroquine to make a batch of the drug for emergency stock. The company had NAFDAC approval for the production of the drug as antimalarial many years ago before the discontinuation.
“The Managing Director expressed possible difficulty in getting the API due to the fact that the drug has been discontinued. He called shortly after that he was able to get the API and was asked to manufacture a batch for emergency stock just in case more people become exposed and infected with the virus.” The batch has been manufactured and the company plans to make more batches if needed.