By Joseph Erunke
THE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has given approval for the safe consumption of Niprimune, a drug developed for boosting immunity to COVID-19.
The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, which disclosed this yesterday, said already, it has begun a clinical trial on the efficacy of the COVID-19 immune vaccine.
NIPRD Director-General, Dr. Obi Adigwe, spoke when he hosted the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, who was at the institute on a facility tour.
According to Adigwe, NIPRD was relying on its discovery of the world-class Vito medicine which is currently at phase two clinical trials to begin a process repurposing Niprimune as a drug for treating Covid-19.
“A few hours ago, NAFDAC, after undertaking a rigorous test to ascertain and verify the safety of this product has now given this particular product a listing number. What this means is that I can now legally open this drug pack and take a tablet in your presence,” he said.
The NIPRD boss added that the management was happy with the attainment of the feat.
Adigwe said Niprimune is also effective in the treatment of other infectious diseases.
He said that the product has been a low hanging fruit for some time, adding that for it to get to the level where NAFDAC is using its own independent ISO-certified laboratories to authenticate NIPRD’s data is an indication that the institute knows its work.
Adigwe said that getting to the level of product listing is the first stage in the work that lies ahead.
According to him, the next stage for NIPRD is to embark on clinical studies to prove that Niprimune is effective for the management of Covid-19.
The DG, however, lamented that the institute is unable to foot the bill for the clinical studies which will bring the product closer to getting scientific approval as a drug for the treatment of Covid-19.
Speaking shortly after the inspection tour, Mamora said the institute has done very well.
However, Mamora said that activities at the country’s foremost pharmaceutical research institute are being hampered by inadequate funding.
He said that despite the funding constraints, the institute has been able to record impressive achievements in carrying out its core mandate of research.
The minister said that the ministry will be reaching out to individuals and the private sector to attract funding support to help the institute carry out effective research.
Mamora listed some of the observable challenges facing the institute to include poor power supply, dilapidated infrastructure, and obsolete machinery.