Unilorin PhD student develops new anti-TB drug

A PhD student in the Department of Chemistry, University of Ilorin, Misitura Arowona, has developed a drug that promises to be potent in the treatment of tuberculosis, an infectious disease that usually attacks the lungs.

The University of Ilorin Bulletin, on Monday, stated that the student, who is being supervised by Prof. Joshua Obaleye, former Dean, Faculty of Science of Unilorin, was currently undergoing a sandwich fellowship at the Faculty of Science of The Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, India.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the metal attached anti-TB drug developed by Arowona has improved the efficiency of the anti-TB drugs compared to normal drugs that are consumed globally.

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It said Nigeria was among the 14 high burden countries for TB, TB/HIV and multi-drug resistant TB.

“The country is ranked seventh among the 30 high TB burden countries and second in Africa and the problem of TB in Nigeria has been made worse by the issues of drug-resistant TB and the HIV/AIDS.

“It is estimated that about 407, 000 people in Nigeria have TB in a year,” it said.

The publication explained that Arowona, who is in Vadodara for a year-long project, said, “Earlier studies have proved that when a metal is attached with a pharmaceutical, it increases the efficacy of the drug.

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“Taking a cue from cisplatin, an anti-cancer drug, whose efficacy improved after applying platinum as metal, the scholar worked on multiple metal-based drugs to see whether the efficiency of anti-TB drugs can be increased by attaching metals to it”.

Also quoting a Professor of Chemistry, Rajendrasinh Jadeja, of Sayajirao University, India, the Nigerian scholar used metals-like ion, cobalt, copper and zinc to prepare the metallodrugs.

The don stated, “The drugs, which have been developed, include ciprofloxacin HCl, ofloxacin, pyrazinamide and moxifloxacin HCl. Presently, there is no metal-based anti-TB drug available in the market.

“When we compared the metallodrugs with the original anti-TB drugs, the metallodrugs were more effective. We did an in-vitro test against bacteria. The metals we have chosen are non-harmful to human beings. Also, we found that of all the metallodrugs, the copper complex of ciprofloxacin is most effective.”

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The bulletin stated that Arowona was pursuing her research at MSU under fellowship sponsored by the Italy-based World Academy of Sciences and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

“The scholar had her B.Sc and M.Sc (Chemistry) from the University of Ilorin. She has to her credit many journals published locally and internationally,” it said..

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