Joining a growing scientific community in Turkey seeking treatment or a vaccine for the coronavirus, associate professor Zuhal Gerçek of Bülent Ecevit University in the northern province of Zonguldak hopes to contribute to drug development.
In a study assisted by academics from Namık Kemal, another Turkish university, Gerçek, who works in her university’s Department of Chemistry, developed an active substance that blocks the most serious impact of COVID-19: replication. “As soon as it gets a hold on our body, the virus starts multiplying itself. This substance helps to stop this. With a minimum level of virus in the body, it can be efficient to decrease the number and impact of symptoms,” she said.
The development of the substance is the result of a study on antiviral component synthesis and is based on components already available in drugs used in the coronavirus treatment. Lab experiments found that seven new components synthesized in the study stopped the virus from reproducing itself.
“We examined the interaction of these components with COVID-19 ribonucleic acid (RNA) and Sars-Cov-2 RNA. Their connection to RNA was compared with available COVID-19 drugs. Our study proved that the components we synthesized are far more efficient than hydroxychloroquine,” she said, referring to an antimalarial drug that was once tapped for use against COVID-19.