The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has ordered the immediate production of Chloroquine to be used in the clinical trial and treatment of the coronavirus disease.
According to a statement issued by the Director-General of the Agency, Mojisola Adeyeye, the drug which was previously used as an antimalarial drug will be used in clinical trials for the possible treatment of coronavirus.
She explained that the decision to utilize chloroquine for clinical trials was because other countries facing the pandemic were using the drug.
The DG said researchers in France, U.S. have used the drug for clinical trial treatment of COVID-19 and the results proved successful.
According to Mrs. Adeyeye, “Lagos State will be starting a clinical trial on chloroquine to evaluate the effectiveness.”
Throwing more light on why chloroquine was adopted, she said, “In a very recent publication, chloroquine was reported in a press briefing by the State Council of China, indicating that chloroquine phosphate had demonstrated marked efficacy and acceptable safety in treating COVID-19 associated pneumonia in a multi-center clinical trials conducted in China.
“The study involved 10 hospitals in Wuhan, Jingzhou, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Ningbo, and 100 patients.
“The investigators reported that chloroquine phosphate is superior to the control in inhibiting the pneumonia associated with COVID-19, and shortening the course of the disease.
“Chloroquine works by increasing endosomal pH from the acidic environment required for virus/cell fusion, resulting in the inhibition of infection of SARS-CoV,” she said.
“It also interferes with the glycosylation of cellular receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. This may inhibit the virus-receptor binding and terminate the infection.
“The antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects of chloroquine contribute to the efficacy in treating COVID-19 patients,” she said.
The NAFDAC boss however warned the public as well as clinicians on the indiscriminate use of choloroquine, stating that the drug has side effects like gastrointestinal upset, blurred vision, headache and pruritis (itching).
She further said, “The itching can be relieved by using antihistamine. Prolonged use can also cause retinopathy or vision impairment.”