Ebola: Nigeria applies for experimental Japanese drug

Onyebuchi Chukwu
  • 271 under surveillance in Lagos, Rivers
  • No case in Abuja -Minister
Onyebuchi Chukwu
Onyebuchi Chukwu

The Federal Government on Monday announced that it has applied for a Japanese drug for the treatment of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

Apart from the Japanese drug, the Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, who was speaking at the opening of the second emergency National Health Council on Health meeting, said the country was also applying for the TKM-Ebola drug alongside two other vaccines which has been identified by the Treatment Research Group.

His words: “Following the Treatment and Research Group’s recommendation, and in consultation with NAFADAC (National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control) and National Health Research Ethics Committee (NHREC), Nigeria has indicated interest to participate in the clinical trials for two candidate EVD vaccines and are considering a third that may be added to the list. We have also applied for experimental drugs such as TKM-Ebola.”

Prof Chukwu said the treatment and research group has submitted a detailed profile and brief on the oral antiviral agent which the Japanese government has offered to make available through to affected countries through the World Health Organisation, (WHO).

He also announced that a total number of 271 contacts are now under surveillance in Lagos and Rivers State.

According to the minister, 72 are under surveillance in Lagos while 199 are in Rivers.

He also said that nobody is presently under surveillance in Enugu State, as all the six identified contacts have completed the 21 days observation period and have since been discharged.

Prof Chukwu said as at August 31, 2014, a total of 278 contacts in Lagos had completed the 21 days surveillance period and have been discharged.

“No contacts in Port Harcourt has completed the 21 day observation period. It is expected that a few more contacts will develop the EVD especially in Rivers State before Nigeria will see the last case of EVD,” the minister said.

Speaking further, the minister said two other contacts of the late Port Harcourt doctor (one of the doctors who managed him and a pharmacy technician working in the Doctor’s hospital) are symptomatic and have been admitted in the isolation ward in Rivers State.

He said they have however tested‎ negative to the EVD, saying laboratory tests will be repeated to confirm their status.

Prof Chukwu also clarified that the three confirmed cases in Port Harcourt were not treated in Lagos.

According to him, the three treated in Port Harcourt are:

– The ECOWAS staff (primary contact) who was under surveillance but sneaked to Port Harcourt.

– The Port Harcourt Doctor ‎who died after treating the ECOWAS staff.

– A female patient who was on admission in the same hospital where the late Port Harcourt Doctor was almost admitted. She is presently under treatment in the isolation ward in Rivers State.

Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu also debunked rumours of a reported Ebola case in Abuja involving a Liberian at the Nicon Luxury over the weekend.

“We have investigated it since; there is nothing like that. The person is not a Liberian. The person is a Nigerian,” he said.

The minister explained that the person is a sickle cell carrier, (Sickler) working for a foreign agency who developed crisis at the venue of an event.

“As at this morning, there is no single case suspected or otherwise of Ebola virus disease in the Federal Capital Territory,” he declared.