NCDC confirms 276 new infections as Nigeria, Algeria, says chloroquine is effective in treating COVID-19 patients, to continue clinical trials

Chidi Samuel| Nigeria on Tuesady comfirmed 276 new COVID-19 cases bringing the country’s toll to 8344.

The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control in a statement via its verified Twitter handle said the new infections were recorded in Lagos 161, Rivers 36, Edo 27, Kaduna 19, Nasarawa 10, and Oyo 6.

Others are Kano 4, Delta 3, Ebonyi 3, Gombe 2, Ogun, Ondo, Bornu, Abia and Bauchi recorded 1 cash each.

The health agency further noted that Nigeria presently has 8344 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with 249 deaths and 2385 discharges.

The tweet read, ”276 new cases of #COVID19;

Lagos-161
Rivers-36
Edo-27
Kaduna-19
Nasarawa-10
Oyo-6
Kano-4
Delta-3
Ebonyi-3
Gombe-2
Ogun-1
Ondo-1
Borno-1
Abia-1
Bauchi-1

8344 cases of #COVID19 in Nigeria.”
Discharged: 2385
Deaths: 249

-Nigeria, Algeria to continue chloroquine trial despite WHO’s directive

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Tuesday said it will continue chloroquine clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment despite the suspension of the drug test by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC director-general, who made the disclosure during a programme on TVC, said there is data to prove that chloroquine is effective in treating COVID-19 patients, particularly at the “mild stage” of the virus.

According to her, Nigeria would continue its clinical trials which may take three to four months.

Adeyeye said, “There is data to prove that hydroxychloroquine worked for many COVID-19 patients. Therefore, we would continue our own clinical trials in Nigeria. Hydroxychloroquine has been proved to work at a mild stage. So the potency depends on the severity of the disease in the patient’s body.”

“If medical doctors, research scientists, pharmacists, herbal experts work together, we should conclude the clinical trial in three to four months. The narrative might change afterwards but for now, we believe in hydroxychloroquine.”

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The World Health Organisation on Monday said it will “temporary pause” its solidarity trial on the use of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

“We’ve treated thousands of cases with this medicine, very successfully so far,” said Mohamed Bekkat, a member of the scientific committee on the North African country’s Covid-19 outbreak.

“We haven’t noted any undesirable reactions,” he told AFP.

Public figures including US President Donald Trump have backed the drug as a virus treatment, prompting governments to bulk buy — despite several studies showing it to be ineffective and even increasing COVID-19 hospital deaths.

Bekkat’s comments came days after medical journal The Lancet published a study of nearly 100,000 coronavirus patients, showing no benefit in those treated with the drug, which is normally used against arthritis.

The study found that administering the medicine or, separately, the related anti-malarial chloroquine, actually increased Covid-19 patients’ risk of dying.

Both drugs can produce potentially serious side effects, particularly heart arrhythmia.

Bekkat, who is also head of the Order of Algerian Doctors, said the country had not registered any deaths caused by hydroxychloroquine.

Algeria decided in late March to treat patients infected with the Covid-19 illness with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, an antibiotic.

“For confirmed cases, we use hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Then there is a whole protocol for serious cases,” a health ministry official told AFP on Monday.

Thousands of people infected or suspected of being infected with the virus have received such treatments, said doctor Djamel Fourar, the scientific committee’s spokesman.

The World Health Organization said on Monday it had temporarily suspended clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus, following the Lancet study.

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That study looked at records from hundreds of hospitals, comparing a control group with patients treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, either alone or in combination with antibiotics.

At the end of the study, of those treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine alone, 18 percent and 16.4 percent respectively had died, compared with nine percent in the control group.

Those given each drug in combination with antibiotics were even more likely to die — 23.8 percent with hydroxychloroquine.

Bekkat argued that the Lancet study had led to “confusion” as it “seems to concern serious cases in which hydroxychloroquine is of no help”.

“There is evidence that the use of chloroquine by Arab and African countries has proven to be effective when used early,” he explained.

Algeria’s coronavirus outbreak is one of the worst in Africa, with a total of 8,503 cases and 609 deaths officially recorded since 25 February.

The World Health Organisation on Monday said it will “temporary pause” its solidarity trial on the use of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, cited the study published by The Lancet, which had examined the effects of the use of hydroxychloroquine alone or when used with a macrolide, and reported a higher mortality rate.

With AFP report

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