BENIN CITY – With the unveiling of the Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary Centre for Natural Product Research (ICCNPR) at the Edo State Polytechnic, the Pakistani researcher has said that the institution is now positioned to provide direction in ethnomedicine research in the country to treat different ailments.
Prof. Choudhary, who is an expert in organic chemistry, said this at the Maiden International Symposium of the Edo State Polytechnic, tagged ‘New Discoveries in Natural Product Sciences.’
According to him, some of the success stories from natural product research include discovery of ISOX from Delphinium Denudatum, most active epileptic natural product to date (at 2nd phase clinical trials in United States of America, USA and Canada); health supplement (10 dietary herbs, spices and essential oils) effective against Parkinson’s Disease (preclinical studies completed, and open clinical trials underway) as well as MDR Resistance Reversal Agent from Morus Mesozygia, increasing the activity of several classes of antibiotics (in progress).
He added that 44 United States patents have been obtained in the last five years based on the discoveries.
Prof. Choudhary explained that it takes over $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion, eight to 12 years and screening of over 100,000 compounds, among other steps to develop a new drug under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) model, noting that drug discovery was in crises, which has left many people suffering from orphan diseases untreated.
“We therefore decided to create our own niche by using ethnomedicinal practices and local flora for drug development and microbial biotechnology on known drugs to create new drug leads.”
He added that the systematic evaluation of indigenous ethnomedicinal practices in order to contribute to improved healthcare in marginalised regions has been an effective approach for drug discovery against neglected and poor men diseases.
Prof. Choudhary was accompanied by dignitaries at the symposium to unveil the ICCNPR, which is named after him.
Rector of the Polytechnic, Prof. Abiodun Falodun, said that the state government will benefit from the ICCNPR, which will lead the way in natural product research in the country, noting that the centre will be a training ground for researchers.
He added that the department of pharmaceutical technology in the polytechnic will also play a vital role in the growth of the centre, which will benefit from the school’s multipurpose laboratory.