A report published in June 2021 states that the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) has developed Niprimune for COVID-19 treatment.
The report by Pharma News Online which has been viewed almost a thousand times was attributed to the NIPRD Director-General, a medical doctor, Obi Adigwe.
The headline of the report reads: “We Have Developed NIPRIMUNE for COVID-19 Treatment – NIPRD DG”
The NIPRD has developed Niprimune for the treatment of COVID-19.
NIPRIMUNE is a herbal drug developed by NIPRD to serve as an immune booster.
In January 2021, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) approved the drug for public use.
The FactCheckHub interviewed Adigwe to verify the assertion of the drug’s capacity to treat COVID-19 but the DG dismissed the claim.
He said it can be used legally to boost the human’s immune system but it is not yet a cure against the COVID-19 virus.
The drug, he said, was on the verge of undergoing clinical trials.
- Riding on WhatsApp, scam sites soar in wake of COVID-19
- Can neem, bitter leaves, Tagiri, others prevent, cure COVID-19?
- Do raw onions, garlic cure COVID-19?
He said it was developed from a plant identified as Andrographis paniculata. Other studies on the plant could be found here where it is described as having anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory capabilities but there was no point where it is said to be capable of curing the COVID-19.
Adigwe during the interview said: “Nigerians can legally buy our product [Niprimune] and use it as either preventive or adjunct to whatever treatment you are taking because it has empirical evidence that it boosts the immune system but we cannot legally say this product [Niprimune] cures COVID-19. That, we cannot legally do until we finish the clinical tests.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed several lives in Nigeria. As of 19th of July 2021, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control recorded 2,128 deaths due to the pandemic, and 169,678 confirmed cases. But 164,710 has so far been discharged.
Globally, data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) as of 19th of July 2021, pegged the total COVID-19 induced mortalities at over 4 million deaths.
However, the Nigerian government has so far relied on a foreign vaccine – the Oxford AstraZeneca. No local vaccine or drug has been approved as a COVID-19 cure or for its treatment.
The report that NIPRD has developed Niprimune for the treatment of COVID-19 is MISLEADING as the drug -Niprimune – is yet to undergo clinical trials to test its efficacy for COVID-19 treatment. As it stands, Niprimune is an immune booster and not a cure or treatment for COVID-19.