AS the world grapples with the most recent form of pestilence called Coronavirus or COVID-19, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Professor of Pharmacognosy, Prof. Maurice Iwu has said not only has Nigeria discovered the cure for the Wuhan coronavirus or COVID 19 but the discovery has been since 2015.
He said his research group had identified and patented a possible treatment for coronavirus as far back as 2015 because of the importance of remaining ahead of emergent infections through research.
He said the drug discovery project started at the University of Nigeria Nsukka and continued in America when he was a visiting scholar at the Division of Experimental Therapeutics of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington DC.
Prof. Iwu further said his research had in 2014 also discovered an experimental lead compound that was identified 15 years earlier in 1999. He briefed the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.
“It is very important that we must remain ahead of these emergent infections through research. The other aspect of our work targets the so-called orphan diseases that are rare diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people, or disease that has not been adopted by the pharmaceutical industry because it provides little financial incentives for the private sector to make and market new medications to treat or prevent them, and/or diseases that affect mainly the poor.
“The drug discovery project was started at the University of Nigeria Nsukka where I was a Professor of Pharmacognosy and continued in America when I was a visiting Scholar at the Division of Experimental Therapeutics of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington DC USA (1994 -2003).
“Coronavirus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome -Coronavirus) our approach is the use of a network of eminent scientists and leading laboratories to target particular diseases, especially neglected tropical, emergent diseases and orphan diseases such as Ebola virus and Dengue Fever, among others.”
Onu commended Prof. Iwu for his discovery and said it was a welcome development, adding that no single Nigerian life should be lost to COVID 19.