A few days ago, the world woke to the pleasant news of some progress that had been made to find a drug to deal with COVID-19, the disease that has impacted negatively on the way the world operates.
The news was that four scientists, made up of three Ghanaians and a Ugandan, had conducted research into a possible antiviral agent as the drug of choice for COVID-19.
For us at the Daily Graphic, what makes the news heart-warming is the fact that three of our own scientists are very much involved in helping the world get a vaccine for the dreaded COVID-19 that continues to claim lives.
While we may not want to sound overly optimistic, we believe that the fact that the researchers’ paper on Remdesivir and Favipiravir as the drugs of choice for the treatment of COVID-19 have been peer-reviewed at the international level, approved and published in the World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, calls for applause.
News that the research by the four scientists showed that Remdesivir and Favipiravir demonstrated efficacy and potency against COVID-19, and that although the drugs showed some amount of adverse effects, their efficacy overweighed the adverse effects in seriously ill patients with COVID-19, also sends a tingling sensation to the ear.
That is why the Daily Graphic urges the international scientific research community, after agreeing to the research findings in May, to accept Remdesivir and also work on Azithromycin, one of the five researched drugs, “which, although an antibiotic, has some level of antiviral effects, with powerful synergistic character towards the SARS Cov 2 agent that causes COVID-19,” according to the researchers.
We also pray that the big pharmaceutical and bioscience companies in the United States and Europe, which have already received the research findings, such as the Gilead Sciences, a biotechnology and pharmaceutical company, will review the research to augment ongoing clinical trials being done by Gilead Sciences on Remdesivir as a potential drug of choice for the novel coronavirus disease.
Various theories are being bandied around about subtle attempts by some powers that be to downplay any inroads being made on finding a cure for COVID-19 by Africa and Africans, but there is no time for that now – the world is racing against time to find a cure to halt the pandemic, and everyone matters in this fight.
That notwithstanding, we agree with the lead researcher, Dr Edward Amoah Boateng, that the public should wait for the World Health Organisation and other accredited international boards or authorities to approve any drug of choice for usage in the COVID-19 fight.
The Daily Graphic believes that it is also time for the leadership of Africa and the government of Ghana to step in to offer the much-needed assistance to the researchers and ensure that their work does not add to the many great studies conducted by our researchers and scientists that have been gathering dust since they were completed.
We urge government institutions, such as the Food and Drugs Authority, the Ghana Standards Authority and the Ghana Pharmaceutical Council to offer the needed assistance if they have not done so already, to ensure all ‘officialese’ are handled appropriately.
The Mampong Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine also recently recommended nine products as immune boosters in the fight against COVID-19, and they must also be assisted as they research into a cure for the novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, we doff our hearts to Dr Boateng, Mr Richard Owusu Nyarko, Mr Paul Owusu Boateng and Mr Ivan Kahwa, the Ugandan research scientist, for putting Africa on the COVID-19 fight map.