NIPRD Embarks On A Multi-bilion Naira Clinical Research Of COVID-19 Drugs

NIPRD Embarks On A Multi-bilion Naira Clinical Research Of COVID-19 Drugs

By Chika Mefor-Nwachukwu

The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) is working on an going multi-billion naira clinical trial on the safety and immunogenicity of fractional doses of COVID-19 vaccines imported in the country.

The Director NIPRD Research Clinic, Dr Margaret Ekpeyong stated this on Thursday during a free medical outreach organised by the Institute for over 1000 residents of Jiwa Community in the Federal Capital Territory.

“We are looking at Johnson and Johnson, Astrazeneca and Pfizer. We are looking at the fractional doses to see if those doses can produce antibodies to protect our people. This is the first center in Africa that is partaking in this global trial,” she said.

Speaking further on the trial, the Program Lead, Prof Henry Egharevba who represented the Director General of the Institute, Dr Obi Adigwe stated, “This trial is to determine the safety and immunogenicity of the fractional doses of the vaccine.

“It will help reduce the potential for reaction if there is any and also reduce the potential for toxicity. It is a study that is new in this part of the world. It has been done for yellow fever. But this is the first time it is being done for COVID-19 related vaccines”.

Ekpeyong explained that the medical outreach which is first of its kind in Jiwa was aimed at giving back to the community and ensuring that they live a healthy life.

“We are doing free screening for them in the area of HIV, Hepatitis B and C, malaria, typhoid and other illnesses. When they are diagnosed to have these issues, we have free drugs to give to them to make sure that they are healthy.

“We are planning on doing this in other communities. We seek government support more than ever before. There are over 10 communities here and we will love to reach them all. They always come to our institute and most of them do not have money to go to the hospital. With this, they will be taken care of,” she said.

Also speaking, Senior Special Adviser (Technical) to the NIPRD DG, Dr Abubakar Danraka, stated that the prevalent illnesses found in the community were malaria, typhoid and diarrhea among the children adding that the average cost for the free consultation to the diagnosis and treatment for each individual was over N25,000.

He added that the key impact of the outreach was to create health awareness in the community, improve their health literacy and at the same time provide free treatment and assessment, diagnosis and comprehensive care for the people.