In its search for a solution to the COVID-19 disease, the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) has developed and listed three COVID-19 products while 10 others are awaiting industry take up.
The director-general of NIPRD, Dr. Obi Adigwe, stated this yesterday when he received an award at the 24th Annual National Conference of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) in Lagos.
Adigwe and the NIPRD’s head of research and development, Prof. Martins Emeje, were recognised with an award for leading a new NIPRD which leverages on modern technologies to produce new products.
The DG said while tropical diseases such as malaria remain a significant healthcare challenge, non-communicable and emerging diseases such as Ebola and COVID-19 were steadily rising in Nigeria and other African countries.
He said, “NIPRD has already developed and listed three COVID-19 products while at least 10 other products are awaiting industry take up.”
Adigwe said NIPRD under his leadership remained committed to achieving health equity in the country through Research and Development (R&D) for local drug production and medicine security.
This, according to him, informed the huge investment already deployed at NIPRD to have what he christened as Africa’s most robust “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning project in Drug Discovery and Phytomedicinal Development.”
Adigwe said the intervention will improve relevant outcomes while conserving scarce resources in the country’s research and development setting.
The recent infrastructure investment in bioavailability and bioequivalence, he said, was aimed at achieving high quality Nigerian products with the hope of dominating the African continent once the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) picked up.
He called on experts in the pharmaceutical industry to partner with NIPRD’s Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) and Excipients’ Value Chain Production Project.
Adigwe said the API project is considered by many to be Africa’s most ambitious project geared towards ensuring medicines’ security and changing the contribution of the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the current abysmally low value of less than 0.25 per cent to at least 30 per cent in the next decade.