World Tuberculosis Day: Research can contribute to ending TB, says institute


The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) says significant work has been done by the institution to end Tuberculosis (TB).

The institution’s Director-General (DG), Dr Obi Adigwe, made the disclosure in Lagos.

Adigwe made this known in commemoration of the 2019 World Tuberculosis Day (WTBD) marked annually on March 24, which has as its theme, “It is Time“.

According to him, scientists in the Institute undertook tests and discovered that essential oils from Citrus sinuses had good activity against strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Similarly, NIPRD researchers extracted seed oil from Moringa oleifera and found that this had some in vitro activity against the same bacteria.

Although the findings from these studies are still emerging, they are considerable findings, especially in the view of the high resistance profiles associated with current approved TB therapy.

NIPRD is a government agency statutorily charged with the responsibility for relevant research aimed at improving sustainable access to safe and high quality medicines and commodities, particularly for diseases endemic in our setting.

As such, research into interventions for TB is within the Institute’s mandate; in line with its mandate, NIPRD has therefore been at the vanguard of relevant research and has been doing its bit to bring this disease to an end,’’ he said.

The DG said however, said that the institution’s work on TB and other similarly vicious diseases were not without challenges including the perpetual poor funding of research.

He said that funding of research not only saved lives, but also supported the development of a Pharmaceutical  Industry that could create jobs, build capacity and potentially catalyse economic development in the country.

“In less than half a decade, at least five strong studies from the Institute have provided new insight into interventions for TB; imagine what we could achieve if we were properly funded,’’ he said.

Adigwe said that in spite the challenges; the institution had developed a robust and comprehensive collaborative framework.

According to him, the framework allows the institution to partner with like-minded organisations, particularly with respect to developing sustainable solutions for diseases like TB.

Such partnerships allow us to meet our respective organisational objectives as regards improving access to healthcare for people with TB.

The strategy however, also enables NIPRD make a significant contribution to nation building through local production, job creation, capacity building and other socioeconomic interventions,” he said.

He noted that the day was marked primarily to increase global awareness, as well as enable the development of new strategies to scale up access to prevention and treatment.

He also  said that the day ensured that relevant resources were mobilised and sustained.

The annual commemoration also presents an opportunity to review other factors that can contribute to an expeditious elimination of the disease.

These include promoting an end to stigma and discrimination, as well as ensuring that interventions are evidenced based, equitable, rights-based and people-centered.

TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killer; on a daily basis, nearly 4,500 people die as a result of TB.

In the same vein, almost 30,000 people fall sick every day with this dreadful, but preventable and curable disease.

Nigeria unfortunately, still bears an inordinately high burden of the disease.

Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 54 million lives since the year 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by almost half, “ Adigwe said.