Spotlight on Dr. David Chu and Dr. Uma Singh: Facing the challenges of COVID-19

Dr. David Chu, Distinguished Research Professor and Professor Emeritus, and Dr. Uma Singh, PBS Assistant Research Professor,  both with the College of Pharmacy’s Drug Discovery Group, are among 40 UGA researchers who met recently on Zoom to share their efforts to face the challenges of COVID-19.  Dr. Chu and Dr. Singh  elaborate on their work:

The Drug Discovery Group is recognized worldwide as a preeminent academic laboratory for drug discovery and is currently involved in discovery of novel antiviral agents for COVID-19 in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Hogan at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. For more than 30 years, the Group has been engaged in the discovery of antiviral agents against herpes, HIV, hepatitis B & C, biodefense-related viruses, shingles, and now COVID-19. Our focus has been in a chemical class of nucleosides as potential antiviral agents. Very recently, several nucleosides, such as remdesivir (previously for ebola virus) and favirapivir (for influenza virus), have been discovered as potential antiviral agents for COVID-1, and are currently undergoing various stages of clinical trials to determine if they are effective against COVID-19. With our long-standing interest of nucleosides as potential antiviral agents, we are targeting the viral-specific RNA dependent RNA polymerase, which is essential for viral replication but will not cause toxicity to humans. Whenever a virus threatens the human health, novel nucleoside antiviral agents have been at the forefront and have played major roles in combatting the disease. We strongly believe that this will be the case again this time.”

 

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