The Director General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) Dr. Obi Peter Adigwe says unless Nigeria develop its own capacity to produce medicines and vaccines, the country is going no where.
Dr. Adigwe stated this in an exclusive interview with Health TV news crew in Abuja noting that certain people in the country particularly from the North vilified the call for self sustaining of medicine and vaccines in the country before the outbreak of the COVID-19.
He said “it took the COVID-19 for those colleagues and policy makers to go back to begin to lick their vomits”.
He said NIPRD has awoken a consciousness for the importance of Research and Development (R&D) which previously was lacking in our setting.
He said the government do not have wait for a pandemic to happen before they prepare, but rather invest in R&D ahead of any pandemic.
Speaking on the achievements of the Institute before and during the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the DG said NIPRD took pre-emptive engagement ro ensure that commodities that whixh were critical to disrupting the spread of the virus were made available.
He also said the institute shared database with local manufacturers which he said is one of the reasons why high quality hand sanitizers were available as a result of Reserach and Development.
NIPRD he said, was critical in putting together clinical trials Protocol for things like chloroquine and other conventional medicines which were initially considered for COVID-19 treatment.
The DG said they have trained thousands of phyto-medicinal practitioners and other critical stakeholders in the phyto-medicinal value chain.
Dr. Adigwe said NIPRD which is the bastion of phyto-medicines also put together a product called NIPRIMUNE which is at the listing stage in NAFDAC and has demonstrated strong anti-covid potentials.
Listing means NAFDAC has reviewed the test on NIPRIMUNE that has been done, undertaking their own investigation and have agreed that the product is fit for human consumption.
He said what is left is the clinical stage where the product will be tested on humans who have COVID-19, noting that after that step they can categorically say that the product can cure or can be used to manage COVID-19.
He however said “I cannot categorically say NIPRIMUNE cures COVID-19 but there are some scientist who have looked at the data, and have said that since it has been listed by NAFDAC, they will go ahead to take it while they wait for the clinical trials”.
Dr. Adigwe who also spoke on the 10 billion naira allocation by the National Assembly in the 2020 budget for the production of vaccines locally, said he has heard about the funds but the institute has not received any amount of the funds for Research and Development of locally manufactured vaccines.
He said ” I understands that government process takes time, NIPRD has also not been officially mandated to delinate the position it can play within that particular 10 billion naira project”
He expressed belief that when they get to the stage where they start to delinate the project or identify those agencies that should be central to the project, he is sure NIPRD would be there.
Health TV would recall that the Chairman Senate Committee on Health Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe during the flag off of the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination in Abuja on Monday August 16th, 2021 said 10 billion was allocated in the 2020 budget at the National Assembly for the production of vaccines locally.