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Ajou GSIS Holds “Share Your Country Report” Event

The Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS) at Ajou University held an event entitled, “Share Your Country Report.” During the event, students taking the KOICA-Ajou Scholarship Program for Master's Degree gave presentations. Held on May 2 at Yulgok Hall, Prof. Kim Byoung-kwan, Dean of Ajou GSIS, Prof. Kim Su-duk from the Energy Systems Division, and Prof. Jung Jae-sung, Associate Professor from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as 20 foreign students from 17 countries attended. The participating students are in the KOICA-Ajou Scholarship Program for Master's Degree, which is part of KOICA’s leadership program for young and mid-level leaders of civil society in Korea’s partner countries. Using the academic knowledge gained during the scholarship program, the participants presented and shared the current status of energy and some pending issues in their nations. Graduate-level education, particularly in the areas of energy self-sufficiency, reinvention of the energy industry, renewable energy growth, climate change, energy education, etc., has been provided by Ajou GSIS. Ajou GSIS consists of five departments: International Business, International Trade, NGO Studies, International Development and Cooperation, and Energy Studies. The KOICA-Ajou Scholarship Program for Master's Degree was established towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing quality education, facilitating economic growth, preventing climate crisis, and forging partnerships.

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Prof. Choi Sang-dun Identifies Anti-coronavirus Activities of Remdesivir and Ledipasvir

A team of researchers led by Prof. Prof. Choi Sang-dun (from the Departments of Biological Sciences and Molecular Science & Technology) at Ajou University, announced the results of its study on drugs that are effective in preventing COVID-19. Prof. Choi (pictured), Prof. Kim Moon-suk (from the Departments of Applied Chemistry & Biological Engineering and Molecular Science & Technology), and S&K Therapeutics studied a number of anti-COVID-19 drugs approved by the US Food & Drug Administration and found that Remdesivir and Ledipasvir have potential to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication. S&K Therapeutics is a drug developer for autoimmune diseases, viral diseases, etc., and was established by Prof. Choi. The research findings were published in Cells, a prestigious international journal, under the title, “Remdesivir and Ledipasvir among the FDA-Approved Antiviral Drugs Have Potential to Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Replication,” in April. Coronaviruses are positive-strand RNA viruses with a relatively larger virus genome. A genome is all genetic material of an organism, consisting of DNA or RNA. The coronavirus genome RNA is encapsulated by the nucleocapsid protein and polyadenylated with the spike glycoprotein on the viral envelope. The currently-developed COVID-19 vaccines especially target the spike glycoprotein. The team is currently developing materials that fight RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). RdRp has a low probability of transformation, being the perfect target to control the reproduction of RNA viruses. The team, in an effort to respond in a timely manner to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and a surge in infections and deaths, focused on anti-coronavirus drugs approved by the FDA. Ajou University and S&K Therapeutics conducted an in silico screening of hundreds of antiviral drugs approved by the FDA through virtual screening first. In silico screening uses screening tools to make predictions about the behavior of different compounds. The team selected the first batch of drugs based on a series of simulations on anti-virus drugs and RdRp, and then identified the antiviral activities of SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cells. As a result, Remdesivir and Ledipasvir were proven to be most effective. Vero E6 cells, derived from African green monkey kidney in 1962, have been used extensively for studies on viral infections. Vaccines against avian influenza, Rotavirus, polio, rabies, and many other diseases are produced with the use of Vero E6 cells. Prof. Choi explained: “The most pressing issue is that new coronavirus variants are being detected regularly. Thus, it is imperative that we develop a drug that prevents the proliferation of coronavirus over the long term.” He also added: “It is significant that we were able to discover that some anti-COVID 19 drugs can be used alone or with other medications.” Description: An assessment of the activities of SARS-CoV-2 antiviral drugs (a-c) The right Y-axis indicates cell viability while the left Y-axis indicates the activities of SARS-CoV-2 antiviral drugs.

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