As government is putting in place strategies to ensure COVID-19 virus does not spread across the country, Director General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRID, Dr. Obi Adigwe, has disclosed that the institute has developed a pilot hand sanitizer as part of its measure to address shortages in supply chain disruptions due to the corona virus.
Dr. Adigwe, who made this disclosure at a press conference on coronavirus in Abuja on Friday, clarified that the disruptions were as a result of panic buying as well as genuine shortage.
He asserted that one of the global fallout of the recent outbreak has been supply chain disruptions of virus commodities relevant to control the outbreak.
According to Adigwe, “These disruptions have either been through panic buying or genuine shortages, and it has been global”
The DG said, “As part of the preparedness to address shortages in supply chain disruptions, NIPRID went ahead to undertake research on product development activities. Alcohol hand rubs (sanitizer) which is one of the issues that the majority of the citizens had indicated there were shortages and prices were hiked”
“NIPRID swung into action and considered several formulas which were contextual to our environment to ensure that the product we will be presenting as a pilot production will be contextual to our situation. It is of the highest quality in terms of ensuring activity against the spread of coronavirus.
“In addition to this pilot product development, we have also opened up a database for local pharmaceutical manufacturers who have been licensed to produce hand sanitizers in Nigeria.
“The reason why we did this is we are aware that some of these companies have excess capacity, and the companies who have indicated an interest in joining the database are willing to share the excess capacity for contract manufacturing. Among the companies that have indicated an interest in joining this database, are two companies who have WHO certifications”.
He explained that in addition to engaging the manufacturers who produce the hand sanitizers, the institute went further to identify where they get their raw materials from.
“We have also linked this to at least one company that produces alcohol in Nigeria; one of them has a factory in Kogi state where they produce alcohol from cassava. What this means is that in addition to having a product that is addressing the potential outbreak of coronavirus, we are also using this database capability to stimulate jobs, address local capacity building, stimulate knowledge transfer and all the other socio-economic objectives.
“We have begun profiling and modelling of vital medicines which are sourced from natural plants in Nigeria that may have the ability to combat a virus like coronavirus; once this is ready, we will be presenting this report. Also, medicine security concept is one that should be taken seriously” he said.