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Chloroquine not yet confirmed treatment for COVID-19, Says Mamora 


Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora

The Federal Government, yesterday, said though Chloroquine Phosphate is one of the drugs being considered to be effective to added to the protocol for the management of Coronavirus, it has not been confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

According to government, preliminary phased clinical trials using Chloroquine and Hydroxyl-Chloroquine was still ongoing and the early findings needed to be validated with more trials before Chloroquine could be considered a treatment of choice.It, however, urged Nigerians to be careful in pushing out information, lest people start pilling up Chloroquine or start taking it without prescription. 

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, who disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists, yesterday, in Abuja, said: “We also have our own protocol, in terms of management, it is one of the drugs being considered of being effective for possibly fighting the coronavirus, but we have to wait for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which is our primary contact with the WHO. It is better to wait”. 

Corroborating the minister’s stance, the Director Research and Planning at the NCDC, Dr. Chinwe Lucia, said: “For Chloroquine, it is still work in progress, as a lot of research is going on. “In China, they are having preliminary phased clinical trials using Chloroquine and Hydroxyl-Chloroquine. They have enrolled about 100 patients and have administered Chloroquine to them. It was found that the Chloroquine Phosphate was superior to the controlled treatment in inhibiting the interpretation of the pneumonia that the patients had and improving lung imaging.

“By the time they did X-ray, they discovered that those on Chloroquine had better lung imaging with findings than those on the controlled therapy and that there was promotion of the virus negative conversion rate. “These are still early findings that need to be validated with more trials before we can say Chloroquine is the treatment of choice. There are other treatment regimens that are being considered.”

Mamora said Nigeria was developing a stockpile of medical supplies to be used in the event of any outbreak COVID-19, which is a serious public health emergency of international concern, adding that the country’s capacity for testing has been enhanced with three laboratories- National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo state.

The minister, speaking on the latest report on Lassa Fever, said: “Between January 1 and February 16, we have had 586 confirmed cases and 103 deaths from 26 states. Edo has the highest burden of confirmed cases of at 35 per cent, followed by Ondo at 32 per cent, and Ebonyi at six percent.The case fatality rate (CFR) is 17.6 percent.

He disclosed that there are five laboratories with capacity to test for Lassa Fever within 24 hours turnaround time and urged Nigerians to maintain good environmental and person hygiene.Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdullahi Mashi, said as part of efforts to enhance Nigeria’s preparedness to forestall the importation of COVID-19 virus, the federal government has released a total sum of N386million.He stated that the NCDC received a sum of N315million, while the sum of N71million was release to the port health services division of the ministry earlier for improved surveillance at the ports of entry, especially the airports.

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