The Nigerian federal government via its NAFDAC and the Ministry of Health gave the greenlight to Lagos State to commence clinical trials of a combination of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19. The Nigerian state has based this decision to some extent on observational data from abroad and at home. They also are basing their decision on some reports out of France that the use of this combination were effective 100 percent in treating COVID-19 patients. But again, there is no proven evidence that HCQ either alone, or in combination can stop COVID-19.
TrialSite News offers other updates in Nigeria as that nation’s people gear up to prepare should the contagion take over that large country with a challenged healthcare system. As TrialSite News has discussed, Nigeria, an oil rich nation with great potential, is saddled with the price tag of corruption, inefficiency and wide economic class disparities. The Lagos publication This Day offered a number of in-depth updates to the nation due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
Nigeria Prepares for Pandemic
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has expanded the available labs with the capacity to test for SARS-CoV-2 to 6 now including the Virology Laboratory of University College Hospital in Ibadan. Thereafter, the agency reports on Twitter they will establish a lab in Abakaliki.
The nation has closed its Rivers State border with Bayelsa town of Mbiama by the Rivers State government as it attempts to contain the virus’ spread. But chaos could ensue as hundreds of vehicles are stranded as they await entry into Mbiama. A large crown could fuel a possible epidemic if social distancing and other sanitizing practices aren’t followed. Anyhow reports are that those seeking passage can bribe security operatives to cross doesn’t surprise the reader that has traveled to this great African nation.
Moreover, the Ogun State Government closed its borders with adjacent Nigerian states not to mention with its international neighbor of the Republic of Benin. These border closures are enforced starting Sunday, March 29 for at least two weeks. The authorities hope to “stem and flatten the curve of the spread of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, not only in the state but in the country and in the West Africa sub-region.”
Economic Stimulus African Version
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has requested tom the G-20 to give Nigeria and other African nations $100 billion in emergency grants for support and economic stimulation due to the economic ripple effects caused by the pandemic—including huge hits to the oil sector for which Nigeria is highly dependent on.
Although there are observational data points that hydroxychloroquine can work there are a number of concerns with this conclusion. For example most of the use cases involves patients that had mild cases and their situation was more than likely to approve regardless. Moreover the successful data arises out of observational studies in the clinic but not rigorous randomized controlled trials. That’s not to minimize the potential of the anti-malarial drug and in dire situations there can be drivers in place to proceed regardless but the fact is that hydroxychloroquine isn’t a proven treatment for COVID-19—despite whoever has promoted the game changing elements. Ongoing clinical trials assessing hydroxychloroquine should be concluded before any definitive conclusions are proclaimed.