Presidency welcomes report of COVID-19 research team
The Presidency has welcomed a team of Nigerian professors and scientists investigating effectiveness and role of Ivermectin drug in the treatment of the novel coronavirus.
Composed of scholars at home and abroad, the group also submitted its report on usefulness of the drug to the World Health Organisation (WHO) that had appointed a peer review expert from the United Kingdom.
Speaking yesterday while being briefed on the report by a team of scientists led by the Principal investigator, Prof. Femi Babalola, and the Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Chris Bode, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo expressed satisfaction that Nigeria and Nigerians “are at the cutting edge of scientific research into COVID-19 treatment.”
He said: “We have an opportunity here and I am so fascinated to hear this drug has been used in the treatment of river blindness in this country.”
Commending the squad, Osinbajo added that with the report, Nigeria was at an advantage both in knowledge and availability of the drug, especially since Ivermectin had been found useful not only in the treatment of COVID-19, but also as a prophylactic medication.
He promised that the Federal Government would explore ways to support the research for the benefit of Nigerians and humanity, while also advancing effective funding of scientific research in the country.
Aside Babalola and Bode, other members of the IVERCOVID Research Group are Chairman of LUTH Medical Advisory Council, Prof. Lanre Adeyemo; a U.S.-based clinical pharmacologist, Prof. Adesuyi Ajayi; two project virologists: Prof. S.A. Omilabu and Dr. Olumuyiwa Salu; and also the project coordinator, Dr. Felix Alakaloko.
Both Profs. Babalola and Bode commended government for encouraging the research, thanking the Vice President for his support.
The report was titled “A randomised controlled trial for the repurposing of Ivermectin in the management of COVID-19.” The study, carried out at LUTH, followed the report of a 5,000-fold reduction in viral load by Australian workers with in-vitro use of Ivermectin on COVID-19 in culture.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the VP, Laolu Akande, in a statement, explained that the PI had worked extensively with Ivermectin on the Onchocerciasis-River Blindness control programme.
The study, according to him, revealed that the mechanism of action of Ivermectin include “inhibiting viral entry into cells nucleus and direct suppression of viral RNA load of SARS CoV 2.”
The report stressed that Ivermectin “is not meant to replace other COVID-19 measures such as social distancing, face masking and hygiene or vaccinations.” The group stated that it had also forwarded its findings to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).