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Ukraine War Hobbles Covid-Pill Project in Lab Near Front Lines

Based in Kyiv, Enamine has become a key player in global drug research.

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Photo: Getty Images

The night before Russia invaded Ukraine, chemist Tetiana Matviyuk worked late into the night at her Kyiv office. By 10:30 p.m., she had wrapped up after a Zoom meeting with a global team of scientists working on a new, experimental Covid-19 treatment. The day before, she had shipped crucial compounds to colleagues in the U.K. Her team was closing in on the project’s finish line and their moment of Champagne celebration. But instead of euphoria, Matviyuk was filled with dread. She called her husband on her drive home.

“I said, ‘I’m feeling that something bad can happen,’” says Matviyuk, 35, principal scientist in medicinal chemistry and computer drug design at contract research group Enamine Ltd. “He was just laughing at me, that I’m crazy and too nervous, and keep calm, everything will be fine.”