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.