The Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, has disclosed that one of the agencies under the ministry may have developed a drug for the treatment of epilepsy.
Mr. Onu, made this disclosure at an investment forum organised in New York by his ministry for Nigerians in the United States.
He said one of the agencies under the ministry is working on what could turn out to be a cure for epilepsy. He said the product already passed through various stages of tests and trials and is only awaiting the final trials by the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC.
“We are working on a cure for epilepsy; there is a drug that one of our agencies is working on, it is being tested now. We are waiting for NAFDAC to give its approval, there are so many stages of trials and tests that the drug has to pass through,” Mr. Onu was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria.
“And we know that epilepsy is a disease that is worldwide and this agency will not on its own commercialise this drug,” he stated.
According to an epilepsy research published in Science Direct, a scholarly journal, epilepsy is a common neurological disorder in Nigeria but there is no data on the prevalence of the disease in the country, where people who suffer from it are victimised.
The epilepsy prevalence for a rural community was put at 20.8/1000 and 4.7/1000 for the semi-urban community. The immediate cause of the disease is unknown but mostly associated with poor obstetric practices, head trauma and pork consumption.
Currently, there is no known cure for the disease, but there are advances in drugs that can be used to reduce the episodes of occurrence of the seizures to about once in 2 or 5 years.
Mr. Onu said used the forum to call on Nigeria’s in diaspora to key into the opportunity of acquiring the patent to commercialise the drug. He said researchers are not encouraged to go into commercialisation so as not to get distracted.
“We will give you products of research at nothing or little cost to you because it would be nice for the agency that has done this research to get some little returns.
“So, we give it (research products) to you, knowing that you will keep the money in Nigeria, you will help employ Nigerians and you will help to grow our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“That is our interest; that is the reason why we are here,” the minister said.
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