Africa’s Rush to Test New Drugs

African scientists are working hard to test new drugs against COVID-19 that would also be affordable, but they are running into significant challenges, Nature reports.
Why new drugs are needed:

  • Current treatments like remdesivir are expensive and must be given to patients in hospitals.
  • It will likely be September 2022 before African countries can fully vaccinate 70% of the continent’s people against COVID-19.

Drug trial challenges: 

  • Regulatory processes slow the launch of clinical studies.
  • Power outages can damage stored samples.
  • Recruiting participants can be difficult.

Happening now:

  • Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative’s (DNDi) ANTICOV program is testing early treatment options in 2 trial arms.
  • ReACT will test drugs that have already been approved for other uses.

The Quote: “Africa needs effective therapeutics for COVID-19 as an option more than any other continent,” said Adeniyi Olagunju, a University of Liverpool clinical pharmacologist.
And on the vaccine front: African countries are making strides by building new facilities that will not only “fill and finish” as being done in Morocco and Rwanda, but also create pharmaceutical ingredients as in South Africa and Algeria, Bhekisisa reports. Egypt is already making a COVID-19 vaccine.

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