The Director-General, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Dr. Obi Adigwe, says about 40 nations have been patronising local medicine developed by NIPRD for Sickle Cell Anaemia.
He disclosed this on Wednesday when the Coordinator of the African Health Budget Network, Dr. Aminu Magashi, paid a collaborative, advocacy visit to the NIPRD laboratories at Idu Industrial Layout, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NIPRD is an essential part of Nigeria’s health system.
Established as a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in 1987 and transferred to the Federal Ministry of Health in 2001, NIPRD’s primary objective is to develop drugs, biological products, and pharmaceutical raw materials.
The institute’s vision is to build a centre of excellence in the research and development of phytomedicines, pharmaceutical and biological products, drugs, and diagnostics toward improving the health and well-being of mankind.
The director-general said that the local medicine developed by NIPRD — Niprovax — is one of the world’s most renowned phytomedicines for Sickle Cell Anaemia.
He added that the drug was developed by NIPRD for the management of sickle cell disease.
Sickle Cell Disease is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders that cause red blood cells to become misshapen and break down.
The red blood cells contort into a sickle shape and the cells die early, leaving a shortage of healthy red blood cells (sickle cell anaemia) and can block blood flow, causing pain (sickle cell crisis), infections, and fatigue.
Adigwe said, “NIPRD has the international reputation to have developed this product that is used in over 40 countries, and should be supported.”
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari supported NIPRD to champion the eradication of sickle cell disease by contributing conceptual innovations to mitigate the devastating effects of the disorder across the sub-Sahara African region.
He said, “NIPRD team of experts placed special focus on efficient and sustainable utilisation of local resources for self-reliance in pharmaceutical products and services.
“The outcome of this was the breakthrough with NIPRISAN.
“NIPRISAN is an anti-sickling medicine extracted from four local herbs in Nigeria, found to be efficacious in the management of the disease.
“NIPRISAN, now called NICLOVIX by manufacturers in the country has substantially increased access to the drug for
people with the disease within and outside the expanse of the country.”
While highlighting some of the milestones recorded by NIPRD, Adigwe said the institute has continued to set the pace for responsive innovativeness in the nation’s research.
He said that the institute develops cutting-edge interventions that would dominate the African landscape over the next two decades.
Earlier, Magashi had commended the organisation for its efforts toward ensuring innovative research and development of phytomedicines, drugs, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, and biological products from indigenous herbs in the country.
He said, “I am impressed by the achievements of the institute in meeting her objectives and in ensuring the provision of responsive solutions to the health of Nigerians.”
He added that the visit to the agency was to strategically discuss how to support its mandate on local vaccine manufacturing and to Identify bottlenecks in research development and production in the country.
The AHBN boss said the visit was also to define the short, medium, and long-term strategies to boost local vaccine production.