Monday, 26 June 2017

40% of drugs produced from natural products- Akpuaka

Prof Akpuaka

By Gabriel Alonta

A Professor of Organic Chemistry, Mabel Akpuaka has said that about forty per cent of all modern drugs that are in use are developed from the natural products for the benefit of society.
Akpuaka made this known while delivering the 37th Inaugural Lecture on the topic: “Organic chemists: Making molecules through syntheses and obtaining them from nature for the benefit of the society”, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Auditorium, Awka.

She noted that although synthetic drugs have progressed to the level that natural product drugs can be overlooked, but added that developments have proved that natural products still remain the bedrock of any drug discovery process.

“Modern pharmacy and medicine are indebted to nature because an impressive number of modern drugs have been derived from them.
“The level of development of any country is adjudged by the number of chemical industries of that country and the Federal Government of Nigeria should make use of the technocrats in the sciences and chemical engineering to take charge of these sectors of the economy, so that the chemicals produced would stop the importation”, the Chemist said.

The don further explained that all that is in the world, the processes in man, animal, plants and even inanimate things require chemistry to function.

“In cooking, baking and other household chores, even in love and relationships, chemistry is at work. Chemistry is everywhere, its principles and ideas are used to produce chemicals from which all manner of materials and consumer goods are manufactured.

“The conversion of crude oils or petroleum into solvents such as petrol, kerosene, diesel, bitumen or asphalt for road surfacing; conversion of coal into coke, coal tar from which other chemicals are produced are all chemistry at work.

“Synthetic organic chemistry brings out the beauty, elegance and usefulness of organic chemistry as shown by the work of some of the prominent earlier synthetic organic chemists”, she added.

She also said that molecules occur in foods, colourants, flavours, drugs and for treating different diseases, adding that the use of natural products for healing purposes was practiced before the use of synthetic ones and would still be the bedrock for discovering new drugs.

“To the chemistry researchers, be serious with your studies because chemistry research require great hard work and diligence”, she concluded.

Earlier in his speech, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Awka, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku said that the inaugural lecture series was a way of celebrating excellence, hard work and being in tandem with the true culture of the university.

He described Akpuaku as a thorough bred member of the intelligentsia and an administrative par excellence, an epitome of knowledge who had mentored several students in the field against all odds.



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