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UKZN Partners with Emory University For Anti-Viral Drug Development



UKZN Partners with Emory University For Anti-Viral Drug Development

UKZN Partners with Emory University For Anti-Viral Drug Development. The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has recently embarked on a significant collaboration with Emory University, a renowned institution known for its expertise in drug development, particularly in the United States. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two institutions marks a pivotal moment in the pursuit of combating viral diseases, especially those prevalent in Africa.

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Collaboration Objectives and Initiatives

The primary objective of this collaboration is to address viral diseases caused by priority pathogens in Africa. Through initiatives such as student exchanges, staff research visits, and joint drug development efforts, UKZN and Emory University aim to leverage their combined expertise to make substantial progress in the field of antiviral drug development.

Insights and Perspectives

During a lecture titled “Developing an Antiviral Drug in a Pandemic,” Professor George Painter, CEO of Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE) and Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development, highlighted the historical context of infectious diseases and emphasized the urgent need for innovative solutions. He shed light on Emory University’s molnupiravir drug, which has been approved by the FDA for treating COVID-19, underscoring the challenges encountered during its development process.

Significance and Alignment with Global Health Goals

Key stakeholders, including Professor Neil Koorbanally and Professor Musa Mabandla, emphasized the significance of the collaboration in developing future-proof drugs tailored to the African context. They highlighted the alignment of this initiative with various global health goals, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and South Africa’s National Development Plan.

Leadership and Vision

The MOU was signed by Professor Busi Ncama, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Health Sciences at UKZN, and Professor George Painter, representing Emory University. Both expressed enthusiasm for the partnership and its potential to drive innovation, create employment opportunities, and contribute to local and global health outcomes.


The partnership between UKZN and Emory University represents a significant step forward in the fight against viral diseases, particularly in Africa. With a shared vision of innovation and impact, the collaboration holds promise for developing novel antiviral drugs and addressing the unique healthcare challenges of the region. As stakeholders eagerly anticipate further developments, this partnership stands as a testament to the power of collaboration in advancing global health agendas.

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