KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Minister of Science, Innovation and Technology Dr. Monica Musenero, has revealed that government is considering having Covidex, a locally made drug as a prescription for Covid-19.
In June 2021, the National Drug Authority approved Covidex, a locally made herbal drug for supportive treatment in management of viral infections including Covid-19.
Dr. Musenero who was at Islamic University in Uganda Main Campus during a Drug Development Concept and Opportunities Webinar on Friday said since NDA approved the herbal medicine as a supportive drug, they have been engaged in finding data which can help in the prescription of Covidex, as a drug for Covid-19.
She said that many scientists in the country including Dr. Patrick Ogwang, the innovator of Covidex are not aware of the process of drug development which makes it hard to prescribe the medicine whose data is generated through clinical trials which government is undertaking at the moment.
According to Musenero, the drug is still undergoing development to meet the required standards to be prescribed as a Covid-19 drug even at international level, adding that although it is not illegal to buy Covidex, it cannot be prescribed.
Musenero also expressed concern that universities in the country are not doing enough to turn the science into development, noting that they pride a lot in research publications which have no products to help eradicate poverty in communities that surround them, and yet the purpose of research is to develop technology.
Hassan Danesi, the Executive Vice President of H&H Life Sciences in Nigeria and a Senior Global Drug Developer who was the Webinar’s lead discussant said Africa and Uganda in particular has the ability to develop its own drugs if all stake holders are brought together.
He said that based on the unmet medical/healthcare needs within the country, there is need for development of drugs from scratch by building a scientifically sound clinical research environment based on International Council for Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals guidelines but also participate in an ongoing global trial to generate safety and efficacy data specific to the country.
IUIU Rector Ismail Simbwa Gyagenda said that the university is ready to take on the task of developing drugs in partnership with the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Technology. He said the University has already started developing a product aimed solving the problem of Covid-19.