Our reporter

Indications have emerged that anti-viral drug ‘remdesivir produced in Bangladesh may be used to treat Abia state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu who was confirmed coronavirus positive recently.

The Abia state commissioner of information John Okiyi Kalu, confirmed the governor’s positive status in a statement on Monday, adding that Ikpeazu had dropped sample twice for test which came out positive.

”Recall that on Saturday, 30th May, 2020, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu volunteered his sample for COVID-19 test and subsequently directed members of the state Executive Council (EXCO) and those of the inter ministerial committee on COVID-19 to submit themselves for the same test.

“On Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020. The result of Governor Ikpeazu’s test returned negative. On Thursday, 4th June, 2020, the Governor submitted another sample at NCDC laboratory for confirmation and the result returned positive,” the commissioner had said.

However, report by a foreign media, Dpa International Monday had it that Nigeria has taken delivery of the Bangladeshi covid-19 drug “in an effort to treat one of its officials suffering from Covid-19,” quoting an official in Dhaka.

The report stated that the drug was to treat a serving Nigerian governor and that a special flight was arranged to bring the drugs into Nigeria, adding that 36 vials of the drug and some medical protective gear made by Bangladeshi companies were also flown in.

“The Nigerian government sent the chartered plane to collect the drug to treat one of its governors affected by coronavirus,” the country’s foreign official was quoted to have said.

Currently, Okezie Ikpeazu is the only known governor that is positive with coronavirus. Others who tested positive in the past have been treated and discharged from isolation centers. They are El Rufai of Kaduna, Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Bala Mohammed of Bauchi.

According to the report, two Bangladeshi companies last month produced the first generic version of the remdesivir, which is currently being tested as a possible treatment for Covid-19, the potentially deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The drug was developed and patented by Gilead Sciences in the US.

A Nigerian team collected 25 vials of the drug produced by Eskayef Pharmaceuticals Limited and 11 vials by Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited, Kabir Ahmed Bhuiya, a businessman who supplied the drug and the equipment samples was quoted to have said.

It added that Nigeria is interested in importing the drug from Bangladesh subject to its efficacy, according to the Foreign Ministry statement.


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