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COVID-19: Lagos Govt approves commencement of Hydroxychloroquine clinical trials next week

The Lagos State Government on Saturday, May 9; revealed it will commence chloroquine clinical trials for the treatment of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within the next week.

This is in the aftermath of the approval by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) that chloroquine could be used for the clinical trial treatment of COVID-19.

There were 386 new cases on Friday, pushing the total cases in the country to 3,912. The number of deaths increased to 117 while 679 persons have been discharged so far.

At a news briefing in Ikeja, the Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, explained there would be three arms of the trial, capturing treatment, prevention, and care for high-risk individuals; like elderly persons with underlying ailments such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

Investigations revealed the state submitted its final protocol to NAFDAC on Thursday; pending the approval of the agency in preparation for the commencement of the hydroxychloroquine clinical trial treatment next week.

NAFDAC, which approves medicines meant for clinical trials, had on March 20 approved the use of chloroquine for clinical trial treatment of COVID-19; warning however that the approval was not for the drug to be used as a treatment for the virus.

In a recent interview with one of our correspondents, the Director-General, NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye said the state government had sent its protocol to NAFDAC for final approval; which would allow it to begin the clinical trial.

She said, “For a clinical trial, you will have to write a protocol and Lagos State submitted its protocol to us. We vetted it back and forth and now they are about to start.

“It has to be well designed because whatever comes to the scientific world must be defensible. That is the essence of clinical trial treatment planning.”

In the same vein, Abayomi said the clinical trials were coming at the most appropriate time; given the number of cases the state had been recording in recent times.

He noted that the state would use hydroxychloroquine produced by original manufacturers and not the generic one and that the state was set to receive “thousands and thousands of the tablets.”

The number of cases in the state rose by 176 on Friday to 1,667.

He said, “To put together a clinical trial is a very difficult thing; there are people that specialise in clinical trial research.

“We have to perform the clinical trial in such a way that we would be able to get a very clear result out of it and it won’t have any bias.

“These are the arms we are developing in our clinical trial strategy. There is a lot happening around this activity and I think within the next week or so; we would have commenced the trials.”

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