The Federal Government of Nigeria has insisted that chloroquine has not been approved as a cure for the coronavirus disease.
The warning came from the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu while reacting to recent media reports that suggested that chloroquine could protect people from the coronavirus disease or treat patients that are already infected with the disease.
Ihekweazu said, ”Nigerians should please remember that the use of chloroquine and its derivatives for the management of COVID-19 disease has not been validated and approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“There have been promising results by researchers but until then, the drug is not approved for use for COVID-19 treatment.
“Nigerians should know that self-medication can cause harm and lead to death.
“Do not misuse drugs. We understand these are challenging times, and Nigerians may be worried, but the Federal Ministry of Health, through the NCDC is doing everything it can to continue to ensure the safety and health security of every Nigerian.
“Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have not been licensed to treat COVID-19 related symptoms or prevent infection,” he said.
The NCDC boss pointed out that clinical trials were still in progress to test chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as an agent in the treatment of coronavirus or to prevent its infection and have not been completed yet. So as a result, the safety and effectiveness of this medicine to treat or prevent coronavirus have not been ascertained yet.
He also said that until the WHO, have clear, definitive evidence that these treatments were safe and effective for the treatment of COVID-19, it should not be misused. In addition to responding to the outbreak, NCDC has begun a communications campaign to debunk misinformation and provide Nigerians with facts to protect their health.
It was reported some days back that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) approved the production of Chloroquine for clinical trials.
However, the Director-General of the agency, Mojisola Adeyeye, pointed out that NAFDAC is not approving Chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 but only for clinical trials to find treatment for the virus
Meanwhile, the breakdown of COVID-19 cases by states in the country shows that Lagos State still has the highest number of confirmed cases in the country with 32 cases, followed by Abuja with 10 cases, Ogun State three, and Ekiti, Oyo Edo, Bauchi Osun and Rivers have one case each.
Most of the cases reported are travellers who returned from those high-risk countries. Other cases are people who have come in contact with infected people.