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Ray of hope in the fight against Covid-19


Mojabeng Moalosi

The preliminary tests conducted at National University of Lesotho (NUL), indicate the potential the drug compound that was taken to Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Pretoria South Africa, for further testing has against the Corona virus as very positive.

On July 29, 2020 the samples were sent to the CSIR and the results returned on November 12, 2020 according to Minister of Communications, Science and Technology Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane.

“NUL with assistance from the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology and also with the initial support from South Africa under the auspices of the joint bilateral agreement, state that the potential drug was tested against two strains of corona virus (SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV) as well as the toxicity and therapeutic index.

“The results of the tests were received by the office of Minister (MCST) on November 20 this year and they revealed that the potential drug compound is active or effective against the two Corona viruses tested,” he said.

He added “The results indicated that the mixture can actually fight the virus infection, it is safe to animal cells and it can be a good drug candidate against the covid-19. Therefore the latter gives an indication of the urgent potential as a future for Corona virus.

He stated that pre-clinical and clinical trials should be undertaken to further evaluate the activities of the drug compound for use in humans. If the trials yield positive, the drug will be introduced into the market for treatment of covid-19 through NUL Innovation Hub Business Support Program.

NUL Innovation Hub scientists worked with the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to prove that the drug, still under development, works against the Covid-19 causing virus at least in the Labs

According to the Dean Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology Dr. Leboli Thamae, as part of the NUL strategic plan 2012 to 2020 the Faculty of Sciences was given a task to generate ideas and projects from Labs into potential life services and products that can be commercialized.

“We, scientists took this opportunity through NUL Innovation Hub to play a leading role in making our own products by exploding the works that our staff and students do in our library so that we can see if we can create local industries.

“I am pleased to announce that NUL through the Innovation Hub is currently hosting in access of 30 innovation companies and several of their products are already eating the market and about 8 companies are mature enough to be companies that are into mass production.

He indicated that the team of scientists that did research and investigations co come up with the potential remedy that could be used to cure corona virus, used various technical extracts, combined them and tested them.

On behalf of the scientist team, Scientist team leader Dr Lerato Seleteng Kose expressed gratitude to the Minister for the support as well as everyone who contributed in the project further urging government to set-aside at least two million for research.

“We must at this stage caution the nation that this is not yet a Covid-19 drug, there is a reason we are referring to it as the potential drug. The fact that it is working in the Lab doesn’t mean it is working on humans yet, it means it has a huge potential to do so.

She indicated that the next steps might include the potential drug being tested against animals first and then humans later, adding that the humans on whom it may be tested would come forth voluntarily, people will not be forced to do so.

Meanwhile the Acting NUL Vice Chancellor Prof Kananelo Mosito thanked the Minister of Communication, Science and Technology for the support he has shown to the NUL Innovation Hub and being there every step of the way.

“The Faculty of Science and Technology is a crucial part of the University configuration and as the Faculty, the University is leading a clinical research trial investigating potential treatment. “The corona-virus crisis has changed institutions in many and unexpected ways. As a University we had to take an initiative and make major efforts to slow effects of the pandemic and to better understand the virus, this brings both challenges and an opportunity to the university,” he said.

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