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FG screens 19 Nigerian firms for COVID-19 drugs production

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The Federal Ministry of Health is screening 19 local firms for the production of herbal drugs that can possibly treat or cure COVID-19.

The firms, it was learnt, made many claims ranging from the outright cure for COVID-19 to the treatment of the symptoms.

It was learnt that the 19 firms had met with the leadership of the ministry and the Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The firms have, however, been asked to submit their samples to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control [NAFDAC] out of which three would be picked and recommended for funding.

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The Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, confirmed this on Monday.

He said a meeting was held with the leadership of NAFDAC, the National Institute for Medical Research, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and other relevant stakeholders.

Mamora said the ministry asked interested herbal manufacturers to tell the government what their challenges were.

The minister said some of them complained about funding as well as possible theft of their patent. Mamora said concerns over how to identify patients for the trial were also discussed.

He said,

“We met with about 19 of them to know what remedies they have in place and to know how we can put them through the processes from listing the medicine to clinical trial and then we wanted to know the challenges they were having.

“They said those challenges essentially were funding and they needed assurances that their intellectual property would be protected and their product or remedy would not be stolen or repackaged by someone else.

“The other challenge is how to go about the clinical trial. Part of that is how they source for patients because they will need patients who are volunteers. These patients have to be volunteers since it is a new product that will be put out there.

“So, we are now in the process of screening the 19 of them and we will shortlist some of them. About three will be shortlisted for further assessment and we will recommend support for them in order to fast track the process of determining their efficacy.”

When asked if the drugs were for the outright cure of COVID-19 or just for the treatment, Mamora said it was too soon to say as discussions were still on.

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He said NAFDAC would test the herbal solutions to see if they are safe for human consumption.

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WHO to begin study on origin of COVID-19

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says its experts will travel to China to work together with their Chinese counterparts to prepare scientific plans for identifying the zoonotic source of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

WHO, in a statement posted on its website, said the experts would develop the scope and Term of Reference (TOR) for a WHO-led international mission.

“Identifying the origin of emerging viral disease has proven complex in past epidemics in different countries.

“A well-planned series of scientific researches will advance the understanding of animal reservoirs and the route of transmission to humans.

“The process is an evolving endeavor which may lead to further international scientific research and collaboration globally,’’ it said. 

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NAFDAC offers 80 per cent discount to Jigawa entrepreneurs

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Jigawa state has announced an 80 percent discount for registration of new Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state.

The agency’s Coordinator in the state, Mr. AbdusSalam Lawan, stated this in an interview with the Newsmen in Dutse on Wednesday.

Lawan said the gesture was part of the palliatives for the MSMEs in line with the Ease of Doing Business, as well as a proactive response to the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic.

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He explained that the six-month discount period, with effect from May 15, would end on November 15.

“The discount is a palliative to the MSMEs as part of the Federal Government’s measure to cushion the negative effect of the pandemic on the existing MSMEs and new ones as well as facilitate the growth of the sector.

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The coordinator further called on non registered MSMEs in the state to take advantage of the discount to register their products with ease.

According to him, the discount will not be extended beyond the stipulated six-month period, hence the need for all new MSMEs to register.

“I want to use this medium to call on all small scale business owners to utilize this golden opportunity to get their products registered at a cheaper rate.

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“This is because there is no likelihood that this palliative will be extended beyond the November 15,” he said.

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12 suspected drug traffickers nabbed in three months in Niger – NDLEA

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Niger Command, says it has arrested 12 suspected drug traffickers, with substances suspected to be cannabis Sativa and pentazocine injections in the last three months.

The acting Commander of the agency in the state, Mr. Isaac Aloye, disclosed this to the Newsmen in Minna on Wednesday.

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He said that the arrests were made in the different parts of the state.

Aloye listed the drugs allegedly found with the suspects to include cannabis Sativa, weighing 1,381.5kg, codeine (crack) 29 pinches (0.014kg), 401 bottles of cough syrup with codeine, 10,200 ampoules of pentazocine injections and a wrap of methamphetamine, which weighed 0.001kg.

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“The quantity and quality of the various drugs seized during the period in Niger state are of great concern.

“The agency is worried that drug traffickers now waybill the drugs to physically distance themselves from the drugs upon interception.

“It takes a great deal to trace and arrest the recipients and senders of the drugs,” the commander said.

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He said that the agency would not relent in frustrating the activities of drug peddlers in the state and the nation at large.

Aloye added that the agency also arrested a suspected bandit with a locally-made pistol and three live cartridges, stressing that he had been handed over to the police.

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