University of Sharjah, Sandooq Al Watan launch project to develop antiviral drug for COVID-19

August 23, 2020

Sandooq Al Watan, the national initiative launched by prominent Emirati businessmen to support research projects in the post-oil era, announced today that they have signed sponsored research agreements with the University of Sharjah to collaborate on a variety of scientific research projects.

This follows the University of Sharjah winning grants for two research projects to combat the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19, including work that will focus on the development of a dual-inhibitor antiviral drug.

The agreement was signed by Ahmed Fikri, Acting Director-General of Sandooq Al Watan, and Prof. Maamar Bettayeb, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies, in the presence of Prof. Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah, along with the two awarded research teams, including Prof. Sameh Soliman, Prof. Ahmed Almehdi, Prof. Rabih Halwani and Prof. Zainab AlShareef.

Representing the University of Sharjah were Prof. Qutayba Hamid, Vice Chancellor for Medical Colleges and Health Sciences and Dean of College of Medicine, Prof. Raafat El-Awady, Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Acting Dean of the College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Chaouki Ghenai, Chairman of the Research Funding Department.

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 major enzymes required for viral infection. The developed compounds will be formulated to combat the existence and transmission of the virus. The new proposed product will provide an excellent platform to overcome any possible drug resistance or evolved future viral outbreaks.

“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.

The University of Sharjah works to promote a culture of scientific research and provides a diverse educational environment in various technological fields, which leads to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge. The University conducts research in all fields, in cooperation with many local and international institutions and agencies, and provides solutions to problems facing society. This is accomplished by providing the social, cultural, and economic needs of the community, and supporting projects that improve the scientific knowledge and technical capabilities of the United Arab Emirates and the world.

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