Scientists from India, Russia, Brazil, South Africa will collaborate on Covid research

NEW DELHI: Scientists from India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa will collaborate on research that will help develop or repurpose drugs against COVID-19.

According to an official statement on Monday, the collaborative effort involving experts from bioinformatics, organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, drug screening and parasitologists would be of great value for the search of new efficient drugs against COVID-19.

The consolidation of efforts, knowledge and experience of scientists and specialists from different areas will lead to the optimisation of the health system and health care in BRICS countries, the Department of Science and Technology said in the statement.

“Scientists from India, Russia, Brazil, and South Africa will work together to repurpose, validate and synthesise lead compounds against main protease and RNA replicas, the enzyme that catalyses the replication of RNA, of SARS-CoV-2,” it said.

The approach which could inhibit both maturation and propagation of viruses during the infection in the host cells can help produce new COVID-19 medicines with improved production methods.

The area of multi-stage targeted inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 has emerged a few months back after the WHO announced COVID-19 as global emergency.

The multi-stage process involves viral genome replication, transcription and maturation. These are regulated by the enzymes protease and RNA replicase.

“Inhibiting these effects would be crucial to complete the dream of millions of people on this earth to develop/repurpose a drug molecule against COVID-19,” it said.

The scientists will also conduct biochemical assays, including cytotoxicity lead compounds against main protease and RNA dependent RNA polymerase of SARS-CoV-2, and conduct target validation of lead compounds through molecular dynamics simulation and biochemical methods, it added.

While efforts have been made to selectively inhibit a single target enzyme of SARS-CoV-2, effective potential inhibitors against both replication and maturation machinery of SARS-CoV-2 is yet to be found.

The Department of Science and Technology will be supporting this research which brings multiple expertise from the several BRICS countries to bring a solution to the COVID-19 crisis that the world is combatting at present.