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WHO to begin drug trial in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, FCT, others — Minister

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is to carry out COVID-19 treatment regimen solidarity trial in Lagos, Ogun, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory.

More than 100 countries are to also participate in WHO’s “solidarity trial treatment”.

The initiative is part of efforts in finding effective treatment regimen and vaccine to combat coronavirus pandemic in the shortest possible time.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this at the media briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.

“Federal Government is cooperating with the WHO on treatment regimen solidarity trial with the following states enrolled; Lagos, Ogun, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),’’ he said.

Ehanire, however, did not disclose when the trial will begin and its modalities.

More than 1,200 patients have been randomised from the first five countries to evaluate the safety and efficiency of the drug combinations.

WHO had said the Solidarity Trial will compare four treatment options against standard of care, to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19.

By enrolling patients in multiple countries, the Solidarity Trial aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slow disease progression or improve survival while other drugs can be added based on emerging evidence.

It said as of April 21 2020, over 100 countries are working together to find effective therapeutics as soon as possible via the trial.

“The greater the number of participating countries, the faster results will be generated. WHO is facilitating access to thousands of treatment courses for the trial through donations from a number of manufacturers.

“Until there is sufficient evidence, WHO cautions against physicians and medical associations recommending or administering these unproven treatments to patients with COVID-19 or people self-medicating with them.”

The minister said Nigeria has conducted 27,078 COVID-19 tests with 4,399 cases in 34 states and the FCT. He gave the ratio of infection as 70 per cent for men to 30 per cent for women.

“Kogi and Cross River States have not reported any case but we are optimistic that we can work with the State Health Ministry to validate this in due course, when we engage the state authorities.

“A team from the Ministry of Health, made up of experts from various specialties, including the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), is on standby to proceed to Calabar as soon as travel arrangements can be made, taking with them, resource to support the health system.

“Senior management of the Federal Ministry of Health and clinical case managers in our hospitals, this morning participated in a multinational teleconference with Chinese medical and academic experts in Beijing, where much insight was gained into the treatment strategy of China and other matters of common interest were discussed.

“The learnings from this intervention are invaluable in reexamining our methods.

“It is important that our response to COVID-19 be a concerted national, collaborative drive, to stand a better chance of being effective. So far, our efforts are yielding result as shown in states where panic and scare were initially rife, but now subsumed,’’ the minister said.

He announced that the 260-ThisDay Dome treatment and isolation bed facility for COVID -19 situated in the Central Business District, Abuja, is ready for use and will be commissioned on Tuesday.

“The ThisDay Dome treatment center, a project of the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) is complete and ready for commissioning tomorrow.

“This center is fully self-contained, coming with a PCR Laboratory, a fully equipped ICU and an incinerator. This over 260-bed facility adds tremendous boost to the FCT capacity and capabilities.”

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