22 January 2018

Nigerian Institute Develops Drugs for Ebola, Malaria

Photo: UNMEER / Martine Perret

The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, has successfully researched and developed six traditional herbal products for the treatment of Ebola, malaria and other diseases.

This was disclosed in a press statement signed by the Special Assistant, Communication and Strategy to the Minister of Health, Kazeem Akintunde, on Sunday.

The statement quoted the Director General of the agency, Karniyus Gamaniel, in his retirement speech and presentation of achievements of the institute as saying the institute developed and completed Phase I study of a fixed dose combination drug for the treatment of Ebola.

Mr. Gamaniel, who spent eight years in office (2009 to 2017) said the institute among other drugs developed an anti-malaria drug for treatment of uncomplicated malaria which is safe for use by pregnant women.

Among other drugs developed during his tenure, according to the statement include an immunostimulant which can be used to manage HIV in Nigeria, a drug for treatment of fungal skin infection, NIPRD Oil which could be used as a nasal decongestant, insect repellent, air freshener and an anti-inflammatory agent.

He however stated that a side effect of the oil when excessively used is irritation.

"The institute has also developed 'NIPRISAN' for the management of sickle cell anaemia," he added.

Mr. Gamaniel assured Nigerians of the core competence of the institute in the development of phytomedicines from indigenous plants and products, clinical trials, among others.

"We are a quality assured institute and we are currently concluding plans to carry out commercial production and distribution of these products," he added.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, in his remarks, promised to source for N100 million for the institute to enable them set up a unit that would be devoted to traditional herbal products' research.

Mr. Adewole said the establishment of the unit would enable the experts devote more attention to carrying out research on traditional herbal products.

The minister also added that another N10 million would be provided for the institute to carry out extensive research on how to turn the Neem tree into a money-spinning commodity for the benefit of the nation.

Mr. Adewole said that extensive research should be carried out on traditional herbal products, some of which have been found to have cure for different ailments.

He said that the Neem tree had been turned to a money spinner in India adding that there was no reason why Nigeria could not do same.

"We need to carry out detailed research into Neem tree as it has become a money-spinner for the Indian government. Its flower, roots, seed have all become useful material in the production of several products including soap, and I see no reason why we can't take advantage of such a product in Nigeria," he said.

NIPRD was established by the Federal Government in 1987. It was approved as an parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

It primary objective is to develop drugs, biological products and pharmaceutical raw materials from indigenous resources towards the growth and development of the country.

The institute was later moved to the Federal Ministry of Health in 2001.

Nigeria

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