Hyderabad: The city-based National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) has joined the international race to develop new drugs and a vaccine for Covid-19. It has also taken up the task of repurposing drugs — approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) of the US — for their fast introduction into the market.
Repurposing of drugs involves finding new uses for existing diseases and it saves money and time.
NIPER is busy using computational tools to design new drugs to fight against novel coronavirus and its associated complications such as inflammatory ‘cytokine storm’ (or immune system going awry), pneumonia and lung conditions. “The institute is working on nasal sprays as adjuvant therapy to control viral entry through nose and spread though nasal droplets. We are also developing localised inhalational formulations,” NIPER director Dr Shashi Bala Singh told TOI.
Dr Srinivas Nanduri, dean, said NIPER has proposed several research projects to different funding agencies, including the department of biotechnology (DBT) and ICMR. “We are already carrying out preliminary proof of concept studies. We are using computational tools to design new drugs, besides repurposing the FDA-approved drugs,” he said.
Researchers at NIPER are also working with natural products to improve immunity to prevent microbial infections, including Covid-19. NIPER has signed an MoU with ESIC Medical College, Hyderabad, to carry out Covid-19 diagnosis testing and in-vitro antiviral screening for coronavirus research projects.