By Joseph Erunke
THE National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, has attributed its inability to produce a vaccine to tackle pandemics in the country to lack of sponsorship.
This was as it expressed displeasure over what it referred to as “underutilisation of human resources and capacity in the institute due to lack of funding to develop and produce phytomedicine and vaccines to protect Nigerians against pandemics.”
The agency’s Director-General, Dr. Obi Adigwe, at a media briefing, Monday, in Abuja, said if there were sponsorship, his organisation would be capable to produce phytomedicine and vaccines to fight pandemics, especially COVID-19 in the country.
“As I said before you, frankly I’m heartbroken because regarding the science and I say this every day, nobody has the capacity we have here in NIPRD. We have close to 75 masters and PhDs all aggregated around the different value chains of phytomedicinal development,” he lamented.
The NIPRD boss recalled that about a year ago, the Institute used machine learning and artificial intelligence capacity to identify that “Niprimune” developed by NIPRD may have activity in the treatment and management of people who come down with COVID-19.
According to him, “during that time, we have come on the television to appeal to philanthropist, development partners, and funding agencies to support NIPRD in the funds that will make us undertake the remaining scientific activities that will enable us to bring this product to market for covid 19.”
“It will shock you to learn that a few days ago, the authorities in Thailand approved Andrographis paniculata which is the active ingredient of this product.
“The authority in Thailand had approved a tea based on Andrographis paniculata for treatment of COVID-19. In the meantime in NIPRD even though we were one of the first in the world to come up with the hypothesis that this could help with COVID-19. The relevant foundations, philanthropic, funding agencies have still not supported us to the level where we will finish the science to enable us to bring this product to the fore”. He lamented.
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