Coronavirus: University of Sharjah wins backing for bid to develop antiviral drug

Researchers have won funding for their research to help curb the spread of the virus

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Researchers at the University of Sharjah are pressing ahead with plans to develop an antiviral drug to guard against Covid-19 after winning financial backing.

The institute has been awarded grants for two projects to combat the spread of coronavirus and has also signed a sponsored research agreement with an Emirati enterprise fund to support its work.

Sandooq Al Watan, the national initiative launched by prominent Emirati businessmen such as Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, and Lieutenant General Dhahi Tamim, former head of Dubai Police, will be a major driving force behind the university's efforts.

The project, led by Dr Sameh Soliman and co-investigators Dr Ahmed Almehdi, Dr Rania Hamdy and Dr Mohamed Haider from the University of Sharjah, seeks to design a dual-inhibitor antiviral drug against Covid-19 by blocking enzymes necessary for viral infection.

The developed compounds will be formulated to combat the presence and transmission of the virus.

"As a national initiative supporting research projects for the post-oil era, the recent major disruptions caused by the novel Covid-19 outbreak have made it even more imperative that we support innovative and forward-thinking projects to support national efforts to curb the spread of the virus and ensure business continuity in the UAE," said Ahmed Fikri, acting director-general of Sandooq Al Watan.

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