President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Francis Faduyile; and a nephrologist, Prof. Babatunde Salako, say there is no definitive treatment for the treatment of the novel coronavirus.
Salako, who is also the Director-General of the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research said that supportive treatment was the only identified and accepted therapy in isolation centres across the country.
“If you show symptoms of fever, you will be given fever medicine. If you have a severe cough, there are some strong cough drugs that will be administered on you.
“And where there is a need for oxygen, it will be supplied. If it is down to bringing in ventilators, it would be taken care of.
“Where a patient develops secondary infections for chest, we will give the patient antibiotics and conduct general monitoring of his progress,” he said.
On how the treatment is different from pharmacovigilance, the former provost of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, said it was different because pharmacovigilance has to do with the practice of looking out for adverse drug reactions in patients, especially drugs that have been approved for the treatment of a particular disease.
“That was why I mentioned earlier that the kind of treatment option accepted to us in COVID-19 treatment is supportive,” he remarked.
According to him, there are pockets of studies in China, France and other countries that have shown that chloroquine improves outcomes in some patients, warning that a number of such researches are not enough to come to that serious conclusion for holistic use.
“People are still juggling several drugs. Some produce results and others don’t. Again, it is better than not using anything. That is the stage we are now.
“The trials will continue until we are able to identify the particular one that works. For us here, we will soon conduct a clinical trial on drugs like chloroquine phosphate and possibly, hydroxychloroquine.
“For now, we are going through processes to get approval from the ethics committee. As you know, we cannot give anybody a trial drug, especially during an outbreak, without getting an approval.
“There are ethics behind the whole process. Aside from national ethics body, we have ethics committee even here in NIMR, just as in most universities. Therefore, for this kind of study, the national ethics committee must be aware,” he emphasised.
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