Two medical practitioners have called on Lagos State Government to urgently approve the use of Ivermectin for COVID-19 prevention and treatment based on medical world’s advice.
They are a General Physician, Dr Tunji Akintade, also a former Chairman, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), and Dr Femi Ogunremi, a Public Health Expert.
The experts made the call in an interview in Lagos last week.
According to Akintade, clinical trial of Ivermectin for COVID-19 prevention and treatment by the Lagos State Government is good, and its immediate approval for use is expected in a pandemic situation.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, had on Jan. 31, during the state COVID-19 update, said that the state government was aware of numerous international claims about Ivermectin.
“The state government is aware of numerous international claims that the broad spectrum anti-parasitic agent/medication Ivermectin has shown some efficacy in acting as a sustained prophylaxis in containing/inhibiting the causative virus in SARS CoV-2.
“While this medication has not yet been approved for the broad treatment of the Coronavirus disease, the state government has, however, taken the bold step of ensuring we have adequate stocks of Ivermectin.
“Which will be initially deployed in a short clinical trial to ascertain its efficiency in our population to prevent and treat COVID-19 infection,” Sanwo-Olu had said.
Ivermectin is an FDA-approved broad spectrum anti-parasitic agent that has been shown to have anti-viral activity against a broad range of viruses including SARS-CoV-2.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool had disclosed that Ivermectin potentially cut the risk of COVID-19 deaths by as much as 75 per cent.
Akintade, also said that clinical trial of Ivermectin was good for the state’s medical documentation.
“In as much as clinical trials have been done elsewhere, and it’s a standard clinical trial, we can go ahead and start using it for prevention.
“Who gave us the approval to start using Azithromycin, Zinc, and other anti-viral that we have been using?
“It was an emergency thing and there’s nothing wrong in using that.
“In a pandemic, you don’t wait to start approving weapons, you use the instrument that’s already available.
“Countries like South Africa have proof of its worthiness, even, people who travelled outside the country have been using it and testify to its efficacy.
“And that’s the essence of what the clinical trial is going to find out. We are close to South Africa in genome, and if it works for any South African, it would work for any Nigerian,” he said.
Also, Ogunremi urged the state government not to delay in embracing the use of Ivermectin as preventive measures against COVID-19.
According to him, various empirical and clinical researches had shown its efficacy.
Ogunremi said the country lacked the fund to vaccinate its over 200 million population, adding that embracing medications that would prevent the virus was advisable.
“As a matter of fact, I just recovered from COVID-19 infection.
“I took Ivermectin after the symptoms became worse in spite of the treatment administered on me.
“Within two days of taking Ivermectin, I was up on my feet. It is a safe drug,” Ogunremi said.
He noted that Ivermectin was not an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, saying that it should not be administered without a doctor’s prescription.
The expert, however, said that conducting research on dosage, and ensuring regulation on price was critical to prevent hoarding, overpricing and abuse.
He added that it was time to leverage the full public health potential of Ivermectin in COVID-19 prevention and treatment.