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Turkish scientists join China’s efforts to develop coronavirus drug

Turkish scientists join China’s efforts to develop coronavirus drug

With the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, Turkey turned to China to supply its first nationwide inoculation campaign. Now, scientists from the two countries are collaborating in another field in the fight against the deadly disease: medication.

A group of scientists from Kocaeli University, located in the eponymous northwestern province, are partnering on the drug project. The endeavor is the result of a cooperation protocol between the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), as both sought to collaborate on studies between the two nations’ scientists.

Turkish scientists are working on producing antibodies for protein-targeting drug molecules as part of the study. The work is one of the joint research projects launched last year for TÜBITAK and the NSFC’s program focused on “developing wide-ranging strategies against novel coronavirus.” Kocaeli University is partnering with China’s Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Aynur Karadenizli, a medical microbiology expert at Kocaeli University and one of the scientists involved in the project, said the school presented the project to the science bodies of Turkey and China and received approval last July. “Antibody work for proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC) will be made in our laboratories. We need target protein to develop the antibodies, and a team led by our university’s professor Murat Kasap will develop this protein. Overall, we want this production to be entirely made in Turkey,” she told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Wednesday.

After the protein study, the drug will be tested for immunization on animals.

Scientists aim to multiply hybridomas, cells that are formed via fusion between a short-lived antibody-producing B-cell and an immortal myeloma cell, for production. “We determined cell sequences that will be used in antibody production with our Chinese partners. Our teams will work on cells in a laboratory environment to see (the drug’s) reactions in the human body,” Karadenizli said.