UNIZIK Discovers Possible Cure For COVID-19

The Nnamdi Azikiwe Univer­sity, Awka, has announced a discovery in the search for a cure for COVID-19 by its Department of Pharmacy.

The Principal Investiga­tor, COVID-19 Drug Design, Discovery and Development Project, School of Pharma­cy of the University, Prof Ikemefuna C. Uzo­chukwu,  said that his group identified nine exist­ing drugs, 14 phytochemicals from natural products, and three N-acetyl glucosamine analogs with good binding affinities to two important COVID-19 proteins (glycopro­tein S and protease), using computer-aided drug design tools.

These might be potential inhibitors and possible drug or lead can­didates for the treatment and prophylaxis of COVID-19. He said.

When Asked if there was any prospect for the findings, he said his group found existing (approved) drugs that could be used for pre-and post-expo­sure chemoprophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19.

“The identified phyto­chemicals performed better than the existing drugs and could be developed as well for pre-and post-exposure chemo­prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19.”

Uzochukwu, however, said that the next step was for the group to do invitro valida­tion studies as well as Phase 2 clinical trials for identified existing drugs.

He called for funding and technical support from partners and collaborators to progress the drug devel­opment because, according to him, the group had been self-funded up to date.

Meanwhile, the Presiden­tial Task Force on COVID-19 has said the Federal Govern­ment was not averse to ex­ploring all options that would make Nigeria come out of the Coronavirus pandemic, in­cluding learning from small­er countries like Madagascar and Senegal how they have been able to bring the virus under control.

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