US based Nigerian doctoral candidates pioneer research on COVID-19


Two Nigerian doctoral candidates at the Michigan Technological University in the United States have launched a major pioneering research into the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mujeeb Shittu and his colleague , Femi Afolami, both PhD candidates in Biochemistry and Biological Science respectively co-authored this research .In their article, they explained how COVID-19 can be treated with the combination of hydroxychloquine a zinc supplement.

The putative mechanism by which zinc can improve the activity of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine(HCQ/CQ) in the management of Covid-19 was stated.

Explaining the implications of the research, Shittu said “Zinc is referred to as an essential trace element because it is required in small amount for human health, since our bodies does not store it ,it must be constantly consumed to maintain homeostasis”.

“One way zinc is essential in COVID-19 treatment is that it may slow down the replication of the virus by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme RNA in infected cells of the host.”

“Based on this mechanism, we opined that the administration of HCQ or CQ alone might not be effective against the treatment of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-COV-2) especially in a zinc deficient patient, therefore we recommend clinical trials based on a synergistic administration of Zinc and HCQ against SARS-COV-2 be conducted”, he pointed out.

This article titled – “Improving the efficacy of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine against SARS-CoV-2 may require Zinc additives – A better synergy for future COVID-19 clinical trials” has gained acclaims from respected academics and fellow researchers across the globe. Following the recommendation, a group of researchers from Grossman School of Medicine at the New York University published a retrospective observational study to compare hospital outcomes amongst patients who received HCQ ,azithromycin and zinc against patients who received HCQ and arithromycin alone, according to Afolami,it was discovered that the addition of zinc sulfate to the treatment of Covid-19 patients increased the frequency of their recovery and discharge. He said it also decreased the need for ventilation, admission to Intensive Care Unit and mortality rates.

Prominent researchers such as Pharmacist David Kossor of the US National Institute of Health, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the lead members of the Trump’s administration White House Coronavirus Task Force addressing the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States have all made the article a point of reference to base the administration of treatments of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States.

It will be recalled that The Nation reported that chloroquine trial will be continued in Nigeria, according to the National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which is contrary to the suspension of trials by the World Health Organization.

Shittu and Afolami however strongly recommend to the NAFDAC to look into their research and the ones published by the New-York researchers.

“There is no need for NAFDAC to repeat the same clinical trial that has caused mixed reactions in several countries” ,they advised.

The duo, being patriotic Nigerians, feel the need and responsibility to advise the Nigerian government on the way forward in the fight against COVID-19. “We therefore urge the Minister of Health ,the NCDC and other relevant authorities to consider combining zinc with HCQ and CQ in their upcoming clinical trials”.

“We would like the Nigerian government and the Lagos State, being the epicenter of the virus outbreak to access the potential therapeutic synergistic mechanism of zinc sulfate with hydroxychloroquine in their clinical trials,” they recommended.

The articles can be accessed here –

Link to the research conducted at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, Department of Medicine –



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