15 pharmaceutical companies working on different drugs, vaccines to combat covid-19 – Expert

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A health expert has said there is likely to be breakthrough in the search for a drug or vaccine for covid-19.

The Medical Director of Indian International Healthcare Centre, Abuja, Dr. Arun Balaganga who expressed the optimism said a drug or vaccine for COVID-19, could be announced by June.

According to Balaganga, an Indian doctor resident in Abuja, said 15 pharmaceutical companies, including JOHNSON and JOHNSON, as well as PFIZER and SANOFI, are already working on different drugs and vaccines which are at different stages of clinical trials.

“China and India are already using hydroxychloroquine to treat patients of the virus.

“Right now, there are no vaccine trials in India to the best of my knowledge, but there are lists of 12 to 15 companies working on different combinations.

“Nobody likes to live in a compromised situation; everybody is doing the best, but if some kind of drug trials is successful, then, probably in one or two months time, we will be in a position to contain the virus if we have the proper drugs.

“Some of the drugs can be ready in two months because they are in the phase three of the clinical trials so those drugs can be ready.

“Pharmaceutical company GILEAD is working on a drug called REMDESIVIR that is in clinical phase trial three, then ABABY is working on LOPINAVIR- RITONAVIR combination (second line HIV drug), and it’s also in phase three of the clinical trial.

“So, basically, if they are proving effective, then there is actually hope for all of us. Vaccination trial has already started in different parts of the world,” Balaganga said.

He explained that every country had its own system of approval not subjected to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Balaganga said that drugs produced in Nigeria must be subjected to the approval of NAFDAC, just as the ones produced in India are subjected to Drug Control.

“But how countries do it is if it’s a patent drug what they do is pre-clinical trials in the laboratory, then the clinical trials, using animals and a small group of human-beings.

“The next stage is using a larger population and finally a multi-centered blind trial around the world before drawing up a solid conclusion that the drug is definitely used for a particular condition.

Hopefully, at this point, I don’t think the companies will try to claim patents and other things because it should be made available to other countries in this current situation,” he added.

He urged the public to desist from spreading false news on the virus while discouraging self medication.

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