Mr. Nevin Bradford, the Chief Executive Officer, Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Limited (CiplaQCIL) has said that they are committed to locally manufacture malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, in line with its “Africa for Africa” strategy to meet Ugandan government’s demand for this medicine.
“Caring for life is our utmost priority. We are gearing up to fast-track production of this drug to meet the estimated requirements. Naturally, we do earnestly hope that the medication will not be required as Uganda has implemented restrictions such as lockdown and a night curfew to help flatten the curve. In that case, the medicine will be used for its initially approved indications,” he said.
With the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) is conducting a global clinical trial, called SOLIDARITY, to identify possible treatment options for this contagious disease. The malaria treatment, hydroxychloroquine is one of the four drugs being used in the trial.
Following this, Uganda has proposed using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients in the country. Hydroxychloroquine is also currently used to treat autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Uganda currently has identified 248 COVID-19 positive cases. There have been no deaths identified as a result of the virus in the country and 55 patients have recovered4. Hydroxychloroquine was used to treat these patients.
Bradford said “Clarity on whether this medication had a positive impact on these patients will only be known once the SOLIDARITY trial is complete.”
Recently, President Yoweri Museveni called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to reach an agreement where India will expedite export 750kgs of the hydroxychloroquine active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) to CiplaQCIL to enable local production of the drug.
According to Bradford, the API is currently being exported and CiplaQCIL will start the manufacturing process within the next few days.
CiplaQCIL is known for producing quality, affordable medication, and thereby ensuring that people have access to lifesaving medicine.