20th August, 2014
The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Monday said that the Federal government was withholding its approval for the anti-Ebola drug Nano-Silver produced by a Nigerian scientist in the diaspora.
Chukwu made this known when he received the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle, in his office in Abuja.
He said that the Nano Silver drug, which was made available to the Emergency Operations Centre in Lagos on August 14, did not meet basic research requirements.
“The experimental drug, Nano Silver did not meet the requirements of the National Health Research Ethics Code.
“Accordingly, the approval was withheld by the National Health Research Ethics Committee,” Chukwu said.
He said the ambassador’s visit was an opportunity to share ideas and information on Ebola virus.
“He is the spokesperson for the United States’ government here in Nigeria, and so he came to me as the Chief Public Health Officer of the country to exchange views with me,” he said.
The minister said Entwistle also visited to know if there was any new development that recently cropped up on the Ebola virus.
Entwistle had commended the efforts of the Federal Government in curbing the spread of the Ebola virus in the country.
He said the aim of the visit was to discuss further on the anti-Ebola cooperation between the U.S. government and the Nigerian government.
The ambassador also praised the work done at the emergency operation centre and the isolation centre, saying he understood that they were working hard.
“You have all seen the headlines over the weekend, this is an issue that we have to keep working hard on. It may be with us for a while but there are some encouraging signs.
“Your government is doing a good job on contact tracing; I noticed when I flew back here on Thursday night into the country, before I left the plane I filled in the questionnaire.
“I was very impressed because I had to put in my seat number which is a very good idea, so that if you have to trace the guy who was seating next to me you will know where I am.
“I have been very impressed by this thing so I encourage the government of Nigeria to keep at it, which I know they will,” he said.
Entwistle said the two countries had a broad partnership to keep collaborating, cooperating and working hard to make the world a better place.
He said he could not think of a more important example of cooperation than the Ebola cooperation.
On the U.S. experimental drug on Ebola, Entwistle said there were no sufficient quantity for now to be given to Nigeria, therefore, the focus should be on isolation, screening and prevention.