IHVN to Participate in COVID-19 Clinical Trials

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 The International Research Centre of Excellence (IRCE) at the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), is to participate in an international study targeted at finding a safe and effective treatment for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IRCE Executive Director, Prof. Alash’le Abimiku, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), on Thursday in Abuja.

Abimiku said that the study entitled: “In-patient Treatment with Anti-Corona virus Immunoglobulin (ITAC)”, would enrol not less than 500 hospitalised adults globally, with mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

She said that the study had been approved by the National Health Research Ethics Committee (NHREC), and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Abimiku further said that the National Hospital, Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada would form part of the partnership in the study to ease access to COVID-19 patients admitted into isolation centres.

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“The study will utilise infusions of antibodies (hyperimmune globulin), from COVID-19 survivors popularly referred to as convalescent sera, with the aim of evaluating its efficacy at improving the clinical outcome of patients at risk of degenerating with the disease,” he said.

Abimiku expressed hope that findings from the study would provide a pathway to a treatment option and prevent patients from having a worse progression into the disease in the Nigerian population.

The Principal Investigator for the Nigerian Study Centre, Dr Nnakelu Eriobu, also told NAN that the duration of the research study was 16 months or earlier, depending on the speed at which participants were enrolled into the research.

“In future versions of the research, one or more drugs from a different class with a different mechanism of action may be considered,” he said.

According to Eriobu, a research team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, data managers and other health care workers have been trained on study requirements.

He said that Nigeria was the only African country participating in the research funded by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), at the National Institutes of Health, and carried out by the International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials (INSIGHT). IHVN is a member of INSIGHT.

“IHVN has participated in other studies within the INSIGHT clinical network such as the Strategic Timing of Anti-Retroviral Treatment (START) Study, a clinical trial involving 215 sites in 35 countries.

“Findings from START have shown that people living with HIV have a considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses if they start taking antiretroviral treatment sooner,” he said.

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