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Nigeria using remdesivir to manage COVID-19 patients, says health minister

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Nigeria health minister Osagie Ehanire on Tuesday said Nigeria has started using remdesivir, an anti-retroviral drug, in managing COVID-19 patients.

“We have been using that (remdesivir); we have tried that in Lagos too,” Ehanire said while addressing members of the House of Representatives.

“So, we have tried the antiretroviral drug to see what effect it has,” Ehanire said.

The minister said the drug, originally developed as a potential treatment for Ebola, is one of the options which Nigeria has adopted in treating COVID-19 patients.

Remdesivir, produced by Gilead pharmaceutical company, only interferes with the virus’s genome, disrupting its ability to replicate.

A recent clinical trial showed the drug helped shorten the recovery time for people who were seriously ill, BBC reported.

However, it did not significantly improve survival rates.

It also suggests a 10-day dosing duration for patients on ventilators and five days for patients who are not.

Gilead in a blog post on its website in April said the drug has not yet licensed or approved anywhere globally and has not yet been demonstrated to be safe or effective for the treatment of COVID-19.

But US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised the emergency use of the drug remdesivir for treating the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the emergency FDA authorisation is not the same as formal approval, which requires a higher level of review.


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