Nigerian authorities have said that they will continue with hydroxychloroquine clinical trials on COVID-19 patients, despite a warning by the World Health Organization (WHO).

”I do not know the data that they’re looking at, whether it’s from the Caucasian population or from the African population,” the director of Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac) said.

”If the data they’re looking at and the reason for suspending the trials is from Caucasian population, then it may be justified. But I don’t think we have data from the African population yet, because our genetic make up is different,” Mojisola Adeyeye was quoted by local media as saying on Tuesday.

”If medical doctors, research scientists, pharmacists, herbal experts work together, we should conclude the clinical trial in 3-4 months. The narrative might change afterwards but for now, we believe in hydroxychloroquine,” she added.

On Monday, the WHO said that due to safety concerns, it is temporarily halting a clinical trial of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for treating coronavirus patients.

The announcement followed a publication by the Lancet medical journal of an observational study on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine and its effects on hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

More than 400 hospitals in 35 countries are actively recruiting patients, and nearly 3,500 patients had been enrolled from 17 countries to test the drug, according to the WHO.

Nigeria has so far recorded 8,344 coronavirus cases, with 249 deaths, and 2,385 recoveries, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The pandemic has claimed more than 350,500 lives in 188 countries and regions since originating in China last December. The US and Brazil are currently the worst-hit countries.

More than 5.59 million cases have been reported worldwide and 2.28 million people have recovered to date, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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