The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), has developed an immune booster for coronavirus patients that is helping in recoveries. L E A D E R S H I P Sunday reports that immune-compromised individuals and those with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk for COVID-19, but NIPRD’s immunomodulatory agent helps in boosting the immunity of those affected with COVID-19. It was also gathered that since 2014, at least 207 herbal establishments have been registered in Nigeria which can provide local remedy for the coronavirus if they are well – funded. Director-general of NIPRD, Dr Obi Adigwe, who disclosed this to LEADERSHIP Sunday, said NIPRD has also developed a contextual processing protocol designed to specifically harness phytomedicines and other natural resources potentials from each of the states of the federation.
“Currently, there is no specific approved treatment for COVID-19.People infected are managed with supportive care and experimental treatment. Immunoc o m p r o m i s e d individuals and those with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk for COVID-19 and NIPRD has been able to develop an immunomodulatory agent that can help in boosting the immunity of those affected with COVID-19,” the DG said. He also added that NIPRD has commenced the piloting of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing plant. “However; there is an urgent need for other stakeholders such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to key in so that collaboratively, we can assure medicines’ security for our people. “There is also a desperately urgent need for proper funding in order to achieve more outcomes.
Inadequate funding of research and development has contributed to lack of medicines’ security in Nigeria and there is no better time than now to prioritise this critical area,” he stated. On the role of traditional herbal establishments in Nigeria, Adigwe said 207 companies had been registered but admitted their discoveries must go through extensive verification, which he said involved serious funding. “In 2014, a ministerial committee that was set up by the Federal Ministry of Health and chaired by the then director- general/chief executive officer NIPRD reported at least 207 registered herbal establishments in Nigeria.
“The role that herbal practitioners can play in finding remedy to COVID-19 pandemic cannot be overemphasised. A particular example is the development of the drug, Niprisan by NIPRD that is used in the management of sickle cell disease. The development of this phytomedicine was possible due to the collaboration between NIPRD and a herbal practitioner. That being said, despite the potential of herbal medicines in stimulating novel discoveries, claims by practitioners need to be validated scientifically. This process is not cheap and can easily run into millions and very few herbal practitioners can afford this. “ C o r p o r a t e o r g a n i s a t i o n s , development partners, philanthropists and other capable well-meaning entities can fund this process as their corporate social responsibility and contribution to universal health coverage and socioeconomic development. “NIPRD is open to such partnerships, and under my leadership, remains committed to continuous collaboration towards the development of evidence – based African solutions for COVID-19 and other diseases prevalent in our setting,” Adigwe added.