Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the federal government will support a team of Nigerian professors and scientists investigating the efficacy of Ivermectin in treating COVID.
Osinbajo made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja by his Spokesman, Laolu Akande. The vice-president also applauded the efforts of the team, and said the federal government will support the research.
The vice-president noted Nigeria is at an advantage since Ivermectin, a drug used to treat river blindness, has been found useful not only in the treatment of COVID-19 but also as a prophylactic medication.
“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,” Osinbajo was quoted to have said.
The statement said Osinbajo was briefed by the team of Nigerian scientists led by a Professor and Principal Investigator of the research effort, Femi Babalola, and the Chief Medical Director of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Chris Bode.
Other members of the research group are Lanre Adeyemo, chairman of the Medical Advisory Council at LUTH; Adesuyi Ajayi, a US-based clinical pharmacologist; S.A. Omilabu and Olumuyiwa Salu, both project virologists; and Felix Alakaloko, the project coordinator.
Akande said that the group said a report of its findings had been submitted to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
“The research, carried out in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) was undertaken following 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 statement reads.
“In its results so far, the study noted that the randomisation was effective based on the distribution of age, sex, and some clinical presentation at baseline such as cough and fever. The overall results showed that the “Days-To-Negative (DTN) reduced by 3.8 days overall. While a few patients are negative by day two, 50 percent are negative by day 5.”
“The study indicated that clinical trials of Ivermectin have been carried out in at least 21 countries worldwide, including Nigeria. It referenced the “Meta-analysis of clinical trials of Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 infection” by Dr. Andrew Hill, Department of Pharmacology, University of Liverpool, UK.
“Highlighting the practical applications, the Study proposed that “Ivermectin should be considered for adoption into the uniform treatment guidelines of COVID-19 in Nigeria,” noting the “potential use of ivermectin as prophylaxis pending the rollout of vaccination programs or alongside it”.
“However, the Study emphasised that Ivermectin “is not meant to replace other COVID-19 measures such as social distancing, face masking, and hygiene, or vaccinations,” adding that, “It is possibly an additional tool which can be deployed to fight the pandemic.”