The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria, has affirmed the potency of Chloroquine for the treatment of coronavirus.
The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said pieces of evidence from reliable researches and reports have shown that Chloroquine can kill the virus at the early stage.
Adeyeye disclosed this during a virtual news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, August 26.
She also stated that another drug, Remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences Inc., can kill the virus at late stages but added that it is cheaper to treat with Chloroquine than Remdesivir.
According to Adeyeye, to treat an average Covid-19 patient with Remdesivir costs $2,500 while treating with Chloroquine is $10.
She said, “In March 20, this year, just before the lockdown, 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 (that time nobody was even talking of Remdesivir). This was February of this year.
“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 (this was at a time when COVID-19 was at its peak in China); 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 symptoms.
“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.”
The NAFDAC boss added that the coronavirus has about four phases – pre-exposure stage, early stage, mild stage, and the severe stage. This is why Remdesivir and Chloroquine work at different stages of treatment.
Adeyeye said some West African countries like Ghana, Togo, and Senegal have also embraced the clinical use of Chloroquine for coronavirus treatment.