A drug that can prevent H5N1 virus has been discovered by a Bangladeshi scientist, Mohammed Rahmatullah. H5N1 virus is the main catalyst that causes bird flu and influenza in human body. The newly invented drug has the potential to cure pancreatic cancer even.
Mohammad Nurunnabi, a Bangladeshi PhD student, and Prof Yong Kyu Lee of Korea National University of Transportation, who tested the crude drug on pigs and fish in Korea, are also parties to the patent.
The drug is not yet ready for human application. It is still being tested on birds, fishes and shrimps at the moment. The clinical trial will be heald in Bangladesh, USA or Korea.
Prof Rahmatullah said they would apply for approval to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Bangladesh Drug Administration following certain procedures.
Once the clinical test is done and it obtains approvals from FDA and Bangladesh Drug Administration, any company in Bangladesh can go for manufacturing the drug with the consent of the FDA, said Prof Rahmatullah, dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Development Alternative (UODA) in the capital.
“The drug can save millions of lives threatened by pancreatic cancer and H5N1 virus,” he added.
UODA yesterday accorded Prof Rahmatullah a reception on his achievements in research and scientific innovation.
In an exclusive interview after the programme, Prof Rahmatullah said during the last three years he had tested the non-toxic drug on poultry, fish and shrimps in Bangladesh and came out successful.
“The drug works three to five times more effectively against influenza caused by H5N1 virus than the vaccine Tamiflu,” he said, adding that the formulation could save chickens from bird flu. The H5N1 virus can also cause death to people if it enters human body.
The newly discovered crude drug would cost only Tk 150, whereas existing drugs can cost a lot more for a full human dose, said Prof Rahmatullah.
Also until now, no drug has been invented for the deadly pancreatic cancer, which is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and 12th worldwide.
“So the new drug brings in a huge hope to the world of medicine,” said Prof Rahmatullah, who did his PhD on biochemistry from the University of Hong Kong.
At least 387 scientific articles of Prof Rahmatullah have already been published in national and international journals.
He has taught in Dhaka University, worked as a researcher in Kansas State University, Auburn University and Pennsylvania University in the USA. Before joining at UODA in 2002, he used to teach at Khulna University.
The scientist said gaining international patent meant the properties of the extract had been verified carefully.
The Kansas State University, USA, and University of Tokyo, Japan had identified that the extract may have around 200 bio-active components, and were trying to test the effects of the components on different diseases, said Prof Rahmatullah.
Addressing the reception, University Grants Commission Chairman Prof AK Azad Chowdhury lauded the innovation, saying such researches were the universities’ major tasks, which should be promoted.
UODA Vice Chancellor Prof Emajuddin Ahamed, Founder-President Prof Mujib Khan, and Chairperson of Department of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Prof Rownak Jahan, also spoke at the reception.
Courtesy: The Daily Star