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Nigerian Scientists Discover Drugs For Lassa Fever Treatment, Says Government Agency, NABDA

March 11, 2022

This was made known by Prof Abdullahi Mustapha, Director-General of NABDA in an interview on Friday in Abuja.

Three candidate drugs have been identified by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) scientists, to be repositioned and repurposed for the treatment and eradication of Lassa fever.
This was made known by Prof Abdullahi Mustapha, Director-General of NABDA in an interview on Friday in Abuja.
He noted that the Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics Department of the agency, led by its Director, Prof Oyekanmi Nash, in collaboration with other researchers spearheaded the research.
“This is NABDA’s contribution towards finding a lasting solution to Lassa fever disease in Nigeria.
“Diseases are increasing on a yearly basis. So, NABDA has repositioned and repurposed three candidate drugs for the treatment of Lassa fever,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the drugs would address the challenges faced in treating patients diagnosed with Lassa fever ailment.
The NABDA boss recalled that on Wednesday, March 2, eminent scientists, researchers, medical practitioners and technology experts held a meeting in Abuja.
He said the objective of the meeting was to discuss the method and processes of putting the drugs on clinical trials towards meeting plans to completely eradicate Lassa fever in Nigeria.
He added that with the breakthrough the challenge was to intensify surveillance and response by ensuring availability of diagnostic centres across most affected regions.
Mustapha said although funding was a major setback to research, he expressed optimism that the 0.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), allocated to research and innovation by President Muhammadu Buhari could assist. He said the allocation was encouraging, and that scientists should be happy about it.
“I hope it will be implemented before another administration comes to power for it will not only propel research but will encourage scientists in the Diaspora to come home and help develop our nation,” he said.
Nash, Director of Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics of the NABDA, noted that Lassa fever was a ravishing disease peculiar to Nigeria and West Africa.
He said Lassa fever had been without drugs in Nigeria for almost 50 years.
“Fortunately, science has advanced to the point where already approved drugs can be repositioned for a new disease.”
Nash also said the objectives of the stakeholders’ meeting of March 2, was to review the Lassa virus evolution in the last 50 years.
According to them, they also reviewed the outgoing treatment options and gaps, presented and assessed opportunities for the repurposed candidate, as well as developed a robust trial plan.
Director-General, Nigeria Medical Research Institute, Prof Babatunde Salako, one of the attendees at the meeting, said Lassa fever required special funding. He stressed that moving science forward in Nigeria required all scientific institutes in the country to work together, in order to make progress.