Working Group Meeting

Combatting COVID-19: Antiviral Activity Tests

Laboratory Study

Testing Alternative Sanitizers and Disinfectants

Owing to the severity of the corona virus pandemic, there is an urgent need to explore novel treatment alternatives. There have been more than 300 clinical trials going on with various antiviral agents being used for the evaluation on COVID-19. Despite the urgent need to find an effective antiviral treatment for COVID-19 through randomized controlled studies, certain agents are being used all over the world based on either in vitro or extrapolated evidence or observational studies. Until current date, all the research is focused on drugs, without any research focusing on new treatment alternatives.
Moreover, evidence has shown the important role of adequate hygiene and disinfection measures in limiting the spread of COVID-19, as the virus can spread not only via aerosol droplets, but also by touching contaminated hands and inanimate surfaces. Unfortunately, this has led to a significant increase in price of these sanitizers and disinfectants and shortages in their supply, with the emergence of low quality products that do more harm than good, not to mention their environmental impact.
Thus, there is an unmet need to develop effective yet affordable environmentally friendly sanitizers and disinfectants to curb the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, a specific aim of the project is to test the antiviral activity of different kind of samples and sanitizers.

Research Focus in Tunisia: Continuation of the Cytotoxic Assays and Finishing the Antiviral Activity Tests

This project is a continuation of the 2020 Health and Society Working Group Project. During the first part of the project, various AGYA members and alumnae/i from different countries and disciplines joined forces to organise and realize this interdisciplinary research project. The samples to be tested (e.g. drug samples, drug loaded nanoparticals, biomaterials, natural product extracts, bioactive natural products) have been prepared in advance by different AGYA members and alumni in the laboratories of their home institutions in Egypt, Palestine, and Jordan. They have been send for their analysis to Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunisia, where the next phase of the project is mainly set up.
AGYA member Dr. Olfa Messaoud is now in the lead of the project to conduct the continuation the cytotoxic assays and finish the antiviral activity tests in Tunisia. She is supported by two postdocs and her colleague Dr. Mohamed Fethi Diouani, who is team leader of the veterinary and nanotechnology team at the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Veterinary Microbiology at the Institut Pasteur de Tunis. The data from the tests and the biological-activity-base modelling are conducted by AGYA members Dr. Lilia Romdhane and Dr. Mohammad Adm. The valorisation of the results of this novel interdisciplinary research line and its publications involves all working group members who contributed to the project throughout the two years of research.


Project Title
Towards Effective Solutions for Combatting COVID-19: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Part II)
Funding Scheme
Working Group Meeting
Working Group
Health and Society
Countries Involved
Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Germany