The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Moji Adeyeye; has directed manufacturers to commence production of Cholorquine.
She said in a statement, that the old antimalarial drug, is being repurposed for the clinical trial treatment of Coronavirus.
According to Adeyeye, other researchers in France and the US have used the drug for the clinical trial treatment of COVID-19 and they reported the effectiveness of the drug. “Lagos State will be starting a clinical trial on chloroquine to evaluate the effectiveness,” she said.
Drug manufacturers in Nigeria are to start producing the drug for emergency stock and usage in the possible clinical trial treatment of Coronavirus across Nigeria, as the disease gradually spreads beyond earlier expectations, triggering the total lockdown of states such as Lagos, Ogun, Abuja for 14 days.
Chloroquine works by increasing endosomal pH from the acidic environment required for virus/cell fusion, resulting in the inhibition of infection of SARS-CoV. It also interferes with the glycosylation of cellular receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. This may inhibit the virus-receptor binding and terminate the infection. The antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects of chloroquine contribute to the efficacy in treating COVID-19 patients, she said, explaining how the drug works in combating the disease.
NAFDAC, however, emphasised the need for the public to “desist from its use without the guidance of a medical doctor or clinician for cases of clinical trial treatment of COVID-19”. It stressed the drug has side effects such as gastrointestinal upset, blurred vision, headache, and pruritis (itching). Prolonged use can also cause retinopathy or vision impairment.