According to World Health Organization (WHO), 80 % of the developing world’s population depends on traditional medicine for primary healthcare. Regulatory agencies and consumer groups are therefore increasingly demanding for stringent quality control measures for global positioning of herbal products. Some of the identified challenges regarding herbal medicine are centered around standardization, safety, adulteration and irrational use. This is largely due to a dearth of skilled manpower in their production and regulation. The African Center of Excellence for Drug Research, Herbal Medicines Development and Regulatory Science (ACEDHARS) was established to build up manpower on quality assurance, standardization of dosages, reproducibility of herbal preparations, drug development, drug repurposing and safety monitoring of drugs in West and Central African region. The researches in the Center are focused on the development and evaluation of herbal formulations into standard products for management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The Center is poised to produce a compendium of herbal formulations for the treatment of NCDs in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Center programs are focused not only on herbal medicines but also on drug research, assessments and regulations based on expertise of members drawn from the Departments of Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmacognosy and Pharmacology. The Center will run M.Sc. programs in Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmacognosy and Pharmacology as well as Ph.D. Pharmacology in 2019/2020 session and thereafter commence its interdisciplinary M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs in Herbal Medicine, Drug Development, Biomedical Toxicology, Regulatory Science and Pharmacovigilance from 2020/2021 session. The ACEDHARS curricula are developed to produce skilled manpower in the utilization of spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques for drug development, pharmacokinetics and drug quality assurance systems. Furthermore, capacity will be developed in toxicity testing and safety monitoring of medicines and herbal products. Graduates of the Center will fill the existing skill gaps in toxicology, quality control and pharmacovigilance units of regulatory agencies, drug research institutes, pharmaceutical industries, herbal product industries, healthcare facilities and traditional medicine centers in the region.
Short courses in Formulation and Standardization of Herbal Medicine, Impurity Profiling, Quality Control and Regulation of Herbal Products, Toxicological Evaluation, and Regulatory Sciences will run concurrently for both low- and high-skilled personnel in the region. The target of ACEDHARS is to produce 180 Masters and 20 Ph.D. students within the five-year span of the ACE Impact project as well as 600 mid-career professionals for short courses.
Coursework studies will be presented through a problem-based modular delivery to ensure the development of transferable and employability skills that will improve communication, team spirit, processing of information and analytical expertise. Work based learning will be integrated into the curricula to allow students the opportunity of industrial field trips or internships for real-life work experiences to aid learning and improve employability. The education package will also include workshops and symposia for stakeholders as a platform judi slot gacor for forging regional and international collaboration and harmonization of issues concerning medicines, herbal products and their regulations.
The research objective of ACEDHARS is to provide intervention in the production of standard herbal products for the treatment of some prevalent NCDs in the region as well as enhancing information database for quality control and post-marketing surveillance. There are three research groups in the Center namely: Herbal Medicine Exploration, Quality Control and Pharmacovigilance. Due to the high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension as well as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the Center in the next five years, through collaborative research between these groups, has targeted to (1) develop standardized herbal formulation(s) for the treatment of diabetes hypertension (plus their comorbidity) and COVID-19 (2) re-purpose drug(s) for the treatment of the aforementioned diseases and (3) develop analytical methods for quality control of herbal medicines. The outputs of the Center research studies will the documented in journals listed in Scopus database. The Center will also develop a Digital Herbal Medicine Library (DHML) and a Pharmacovigilance database for African herbal products. Each group is working with institutional and sectoral partners. A Center Complex will be built and equipped to sbobet88 support education, faculties’ research works, all partners and stakeholders.
The Sectoral partners of the Center include regulatory bodies: National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria; Lagos University Teaching Hospital Pharmacovigilance Center (LUTHPC); Lagos State Traditional Medicine Board (LSTMB); Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authorities (LMHRA) and Pharmacy Board of Sierra-Leone (PBSL). It also includes indigenous pharmaceutical industries: Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc, Drugfield Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Mopson Pharmaceuticals Ltd, all in Nigeria. Indigenous pharmaceutical industries will provide bench spaces for research and internships for the development of standardized drugs and herbal medicines while the regulatory bodies will provide same support for the development of analytical protocols and quality control of herbal medicines. The ACEDHARS will provide fully funded scholarship to regional students (except Nigerians) and staff of sectoral partners recommended for programs at the Center while qualified persons in the organizations will be invited to join in the facilitation of short courses, workshops and symposia.
The ACEDHARS will be partnering with University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, in teaching and research through joint facilitation of short courses, co-supervision of students’ research projects and faculty exchange. University of Liberia and University of Sierra Leone are also academic partners of the Center who in exchange for free training of their staff members, have offered their laboratory facilities for use by students of the Center carrying out preliminary studies in the countries. The Center will continue to increase its partnership drive to further ensure a spread of its impact across the region. The International Academic partners of the Center would assist in the area of training, mentorship and also to provide laboratory bench spaces to staff and students of the Center. The University of Lagos as host of the Center, has decided to use the support offered to it through the ACE Impact project, to upgrade the University Information and Communication Technology facilities especially towards increasing online teaching mode by migration of the University teaching services to the cloud. The ACEDHARS will also provide support towards the actualization of the University’s regional strategic plan of developing the human capacities in the Research Management units of Universities across the region. The University of Lagos will be using the opportunity provided by the ACE Impact project to join the league of Nigerian Universities on the NgRen Network system, which is a channel for enhancing the internet bandwidth and increase access to e-resources relevant to teaching and research in the University.
The key focus of ACEDHARS will be to attain a sustainable and self-financing status before the expiration of the ACE impact sponsorship. There will be income generation from postgraduate programs, short courses, workshops and consultancy services in the area of product development and drug analysis in the region. There will be concerted efforts by members of the Center and partners to attract both training and research grants from funding agencies such as National Research Fund (Tertiary Education Trust Fund), The World Academy of Science (TWAS), African Union, Wellcome Trust, PEER, UKRI and National Institute of Health. The Center will build and equip a standard research laboratory and all the equipment shall reside in this building for analytical studies and also for consulting external use at a fee. Given the entrepreneurial potential of the Center’s multidisciplinary research, a start-up enterprise: ACE Consult UNILAG, will be established to promote products from the Herbal medicine exploration research surgaplay group. In addition, a Digital Herbal Medicine Library, established as a product of the robust African pharmacopeia will be accessible to the public for a fee.
As a result of ACEDHARS activities, there will be significant increase in the critical mass of skilled personnel in herbal products standardization, toxicology, pharmacovigilance and regulatory science in the region. It is believed that through these interventions, there will be reduction in adulteration, counterfeiting, contaminants, adverse reactions and toxic effects of drug and herbal products. Safety profiling of herbal remedies through the formation of an herbal pharmacovigilance database and production of a robust Africa pharmacopeia will provide the necessary reference information for the region. Another impact will be the establishment of more regulatory agencies surga55 and strengthening of existing regulatory bodies with harmonized policies across the region. This will lead to a reformed herbal medicine industry in the region with standardized products of consistent therapeutic effects. Furthermore, with the development of its own standardized herbal products, the Center will provide remedies for the management of diabetes, hypertension and neurodegenerative diseases.