FG Directs Pharmaceutical Research Institute to Identify Herbal Medicines Active against COVID-19

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By Martins Ifijeh

The federal government has directed the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) to develop models for identifying herbal medicines active against COVID-19.

The government agency has also commenced mass production of hand sanitisers to facilitate widespread access of the alcohol-based product to Nigerians.

Speaking exclusively with THISDAY Wednesday, the Director General, NIPRD, Dr. Obi Peter Adigwe, said the institute had also commenced the development of protocols to test products that can be used as an adjunct treatment for the deadly respiratory disease.

Adigwe said: “We have commenced the development of interactive models for identifying phyto-medicines that may have activity against the new coronavirus. We have also commenced protocols to test products that can be used as adjunct treatment, for instance plant-derived medicines with immune-stimulatory properties.

“The institute is facilitating a robust and comprehensive engagement with manufacturers of various critical pharmaceuticals and commodities to maximize the local production of products relevant to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He explained that the approach was based on utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities in the development of relevant databases which can consequently improve access to various products across the entire supply chain.

Adigwe also mentioned that following the successful product development of the institute’s alcohol-based hand sanitizer, NIPRD has now acquired NAFDAC registration and has commenced industrial manufacturing of hand santisers to facilitate widespread access for all Nigerians.

He added: “This will go a long way in addressing supply chain disruptions, as well as ensuring the availability of high quality, effective and affordable products. This is critical for control and spread of the outbreak,” he added.

NIPRD) is an agency of the federal government established for enhancing the development and commercialisation of pharmaceutical raw materials, drugs, biological and diagnostic products from Nigeria’s indigenous natural resources.

It is also mandated to engage in activities relating to capacity building, policy making, data collation, drug distribution and the development of contextual partnerships that can expedite access to medicines and healthcare commodities.