TOYIN ADEBAYO, ABUJA
The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye has revealed that, there is possibility that chloroquine could effectively treat Covid-19 at the early stage of infection.
She buttressed her point, saying, a research shown that chloroquine is effective for the treatment of COVID-19 at the early stage of infection.
While adding that, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had earlier hinted that the drugs may not be effective for the infection.
The NAFDAC boss gave this hint, during a virtual news conference in Abuja, saying, “In June, the FDA withdrew its approval for the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.
She added that; “chloroquine can be used prophylactically and that countries like Ghana and Senegal have also embraced the clinical use of chloroquine for treatment.
“It is not only one drug that is effective for COVID-19 treatment but that it depends on the stage and the phases of the disease.
“On March 20, this year, I had a press briefing. At that time, people did not understand what clinical trial treatment meant. Once they hear treatment, they think you can use it anyhow. But clinical trial treatment is a research study to see whether the drug will work or not.
“In the press briefing, I said I was going through literature to see what others have done and I saw in a particular literature, a reliable publication of an article, about chloroquine and remdesivir.
Adeyeye continued; “They said in the cell culture, remdesivir and chloroquine killed COVID-19 viruses, that is, invitro – in the laboratory. But you cannot translate that to humans unless a clinical trial is done.
“I kept looking. About two weeks or so later in early March; there was a publication where 100 patients were treated with chloroquine across ten hospitals in six cities, including Wuhan. It said that all of them recovered from the symptoms. They called it that time pneumonia symptom.
“In the cells; in the lab, remdesivir and chloroquine killed COVID-19. We did not know that the disease has four stages that include pre-exposure, early-stage, severe stage and post-infection.
“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”, she explained.
Adeyeye added that reports have also shown that remdesivir works at the last stage of the infection.
She, however, noted that the cost of treating a patient with chloroquine was cheaper than remdesivir.
NAFDAC boss added that, “Now we are talking of remdesivir. We met with Gilead , the maker of remdesivir about two months ago and they came. They said they have licensed their drug to five Indian companies and one Pakistani company,” she said.
She revealed that, “To treat an average patient will cost about $10 with chloroquine and cost about $2,500 with remdesivir.