ICCBS's Ongoing Projects on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 
Pertaining to the current situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team from the National Institute of Virology, Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research, ICCBS, University of Karachi is actively involved in the molecular diagnostic of the COVID-19. The team comprising of Dr. Saba Farooq, Dr. Muhammad Ammar Athar, Dr. Muhammad Rashid, Dr. Hana’a Iqbal, Mr. Muhammad Aurangzeb, and Ms. Sabeeta Kanwal are deputed at the Indus Hospital, Karachi for diagnosis and analysis of samples from suspected COVID-19 patients by using real time PCR assay. Moreover, Dr. Muhammad Ammar Athar is working on establishment and optimization of a modifiable diagnostic kit for COVID-19. Dr. Muhammad Rashid has optimized a viral transport medium (VTM) for COVID-19 samples which is under validation procedure.
 
In my group, we develop polymer based drug delivery systems. Recently, we have reported enhanced delivery of several antibacterial drugs by using polymer based drug delivery systems. In one of our on-going study we are applying polymer based drug delivery systems for improved delivery of anti-viral drugs to the targeted site (in collaboration with Dr Rashid).

Dr. Muhammad Imran Malik
Assistant Professor,
H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry,
International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
 
 
We at the Jamil-ur-Rahman Center for Genome Research are working on the genomic analysis of COVID-19 from Pakistan by using next generation sequencing. It will help to understand the genetic variations and their correlation with the disease severity, progression and clinical outcomes. Viruses keep on mutating and in pandemic it becomes more important to monitor the way, rate and nature of mutations which may have impact on effectiveness of future therapies and vaccinations.

It is important to note that more than 55 COVID-19 genomes have been reported from China and this number is further increasing. A total of 288 whole genomes from different parts of world have been reported in Genbank.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank/sars-cov-2-seqs/

University of Cambridge, UK is spearheading effort to massively map coronavirus genomes from UK population. £20 million have been allocated for the said project.

https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/cambridge-to-spearhead-ps20million-alliance-to-map-spread-of-covid-19-coronavirus

Given the unique environmental conditions in this part of world genomic data of COVID-19 from Pakistan will be instrumental in devising strategies for surveillance and control of this infection.
 
 
Computational Medicinal Chemistry at the PCMD is involved in the evaluation of protein-protein contact profiles between CoV2 spike protein and ACE2 to understand the dynamics of the event.
 
 
Studies to search for 2019-nCov main protease inhibitors as possible treatment of COVID-19

M. Iqbal Choudhary, Atta-ur-Rahman, Atia-tul-Wahab, Muniza Shaikh

Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research, University of Karachi, Karachi-75270, Pakistan

· We have identified new inhibitors of 2019-nCov main protease using in silico based virtual screening.

· We have also cloned the enzyme in our structural biology lab at the PCMD. We are now working to validate the identified inhibitors of 2019-nCov main protease using NMR spectroscopy.