The International Research Center of Excellence (IRCE) at the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) will participate in an international study to find safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 coming up soon.
Nigeria is the only African country participating in the research funded by the US National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health and carried out by the International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials (INSIGHT) which IHVN is a member.
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The study titled, ‘In-patient Treatment with Anti-Coronavirus Immunoglobulin (ITAC)’ would enrol 500 hospitalised adults globally with mild or moderate symptoms of the disease, a statement from the organisation said.
Prof. Alash’le Abimiku, IRCE Executive Director, said the study has been approved by the National Health Research Ethics Committee (NHREC) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). It involves partnering with the National Hospital, Abuja, and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada as well as accessing COVID-19 patients admitted into their isolation centres.
“The study will utilize infusions of antibodies (hyperimmune globulin) from COVID-19 survivors popularly referred to as convalescent sera with the aim of evaluating its efficacy at improving the clinical outcome of patients at risk of degenerating with the disease,” she said.
Prof. Abimiku said the study could provide a pathway to a treatment option and also prevent patients from having worse progression into the disease in the Nigerian population.
Principal Investigator for the Nigerian Study Centre, Dr Nnakelu Eriobu, said the duration of the research study was 16 months, or earlier, depending on the speed participants were enrolled in the research.
Dr Eriobu, said that a research team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, data managers and other health care workers has been trained on the study requirements.
IHVN has participated in other studies within the INSIGHT clinical network such as the Strategic Timing of Antiretroviral Treatment (START) study, a clinical trial involving 215 sites in 35 countries. Findings from the START study showed that people living with HIV have a considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses if they start taking antiretroviral treatment sooner.