The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that Nigeria has expressed interest to be part of the global solidarity drug trial to tackle COVID-19 pandemic and that the process would soon start in the country.
The Officer in charge, WHO Nigeria and member of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr. Fiona Braka, told Daily Trust in an exclusive interview on Saturday in Abuja that what Nigeria signed up for was drug trial and not vaccine trial, as there was yet no vaccine for the COVID-19.
According to her, the four drugs that will be monitored in the solidarity trial are Remdesivir; Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine; Lopinavir; and Ritonavir.
She said that over 100 countries have joined the solidarity trial and that till date, over 1,200 patients have been randomized from the first five countries to evaluate the relative effectiveness of the drugs with regards to Covid-19.
She also said that 89 vaccines are being developed globally, including seven in clinical evaluation and several therapeutics in clinical trials to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nigeria has also expressed interest to be part of this solidarity trial and efforts are underway to start the process in Nigeria. The solidarity trial is not experimenting on new drugs, as the drugs in use currently are re-purposed and safe drugs. WHO is not commencing vaccine trials in Nigeria, there is no vaccine available yet and it will take another 12-18 months before one is available,” she said.
Braka said researchers around the world are working hard on accelerating the development of vaccines and therapeutics for COVID 19 and that WHO has launched various working groups to accelerate various aspects of vaccine development.
She said that together with global health actors and partners, WHO launched the Access To COVID19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to new COVID 19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines and that WHO is committed to ensuring that as medicines and vaccines are developed, they are shared equitably with all countries and people.
“Regarding treatment for COVID-19, the Solidarity trial is an international clinical trial that will help find an effective treatment COVID-19, launched by WHO and partners. There is currently insufficient information on effective treatment for COVID-19 globally.
Braka said the solidarity trial is reviewing potential treatments for patients infected with COVID-19 using re-purposed drugs such as anti-viral drugs.
She said Nigeria is among several countries in the region and the world that will be contributing information on treatment of COVID-19 patients to determine the global recommended treatment option for the virus.