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The Nigerian government yesterday, June 13, 2022, finally launched the production and distribution of her new discovery in the world of medicine – Nago Simma; the long-awaited, highly efficient and cheapest HIV/AIDS drug. This followed a ten-year research conducted by an all-Nigerian team of 8 professionals across the medical fields of Biochemistry, Pharmacy, Pharmacognosy, Traditional Medicine and Virology. The research was jointly sponsored by the Nigerian government (70%) and Lawran Pharmaceuticals (30%).

Present at the inaugural ceremony which was held at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, were the presidents of Nigeria and South Africa; minister of health, minister of foreign affairs, many foreign diplomats, among others.

The medication, Nago Simma is of two types: Nago Simma‘A’ and Nago Simma‘B’. Nago Simma‘A’ is a preventive vaccine that protects anyone who uses it against the deadly virus. It must be taken every five years. Nago Simma ‘B’, on the other hand, is a curative drug which has the capacity to cure infected persons of HIV and AIDS after patient must have taken the prescribed dosage.

In accordance with the MoU between the Nigerian government and Lawran Pharmaceuticals, nine indigenous pharmaceutical companies have been awarded the license to produce the drugs.

According to the Nigerian president, “the Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the state and local governments, has developed a schedule plan to see all confirmed infected persons as of May 1, 2022 receive Nago Simma‘B’ medication for free in their respective local government areas. This exercise is scheduled to last for a month, plus an additional week for contingency”, he said. “It is estimated that about 1.2 million Nigerians may be carriers of the virus without them knowing it. The second batch of the Nago Simma ‘B’ distribution will address this group of people. After this, Nigerians will have to purchase Nago Simma ‘B’ as it’s currently the case with Nago Simma’A’. ”

The president also expressed his gratitude to the medical team who developed the drug while announcing that Nigeria will be HIV-free by September 2023.

“I am happy to say, with confidence and every sense of gratitude to God and our heroes who developed this drug, that Nigeria will be declared HIV-free come September 30th 2023,” he enthused.

At a press conference held at the end of the ceremony; the visibly joyous head of the research team, Prof. George Nnaji attributed their achievement to the socio-psychological awakening of Nigerian citizens.

“Nigerians put aside sentiments in the last elections and were able to vote in visionary and will-powered politicians – both in the executive and the legislature. If not for the support of the government, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this. Despite threat of sanctions from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Trade Organization, the president kept on telling the world that this invention is truly novel – on the basis that the drug is organic, while the two that came before it are synthetic,” Nnaji said.

In the same vein, the Minister of Health, Dr Bilkisu Baba also noted that the success of the drug came amid consistent frustration and pressure from several quarters.

“There were both local and international pressures but thank God we overcame them all”, she said. “Yes, we lost a lot of low-duty benefits we would have enjoyed on our exports under the Generalized System of Preference (GPS), but the reward of taking our rightful position in the committee of nations far outweighs that – both in honour and economically.”

Nigeria Tomorrow gathered that the governments of the US, China and South Africa sent delegates with bilateral agreement proposals to meet with the Nigeria government in order to secure the right to award licenses to their indigenous pharmaceutical companies to manufacture genetic drugs of Nago Simma. The Minister of Health is expected to hold meetings with the three delegates at different times today.

Experts have, however, said that the US government will have a hard time reaching an agreement with Nigeria, having ruthlessly increased duties on Nigerian imports in accordance with her “Special 301 Retaliation” laws, during the time of Nago Simma trial.

Written by Korede Oludiran @koredeoludiran

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