Turkey: Discovery could help block COVID-19 replication

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ZONGULDAK, Turkey

Turkish researchers have developed an active substance proven to inhibit COVID-19 replication in the human body which can be used in drugs to help infected people, said the chemist who led the research on Thursday.

Working to synthesize antiviral compounds in the organic research laboratory at Bulent Ecevit University in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak, Professor Zuhal Gercek proved that the seven new compounds synthesized in her study prevent reproduction of the virus in the body.

Gercek said that they wanted to contribute to the fight against coronavirus and added: “With this aim, we synthesized seven antiviral compounds that are not included in the literature.”

With the study supported by two other professors, Erol Ercag and Deniz Ceyhan, from the northwestern Tekirdag province, they proved that the substance can be used as raw pharmaceutical material for medicines to treat COVID-19 patients.

She said the results suggest that molecules they synthesized have similar benefits as Remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug that is used against COVID-19.

“It even proved that it is more effective in some places,” she said, adding that for now they are active compounds and cannot be used as a drug right away.

“Of course, pharmaceutical companies can turn this into a medicine. Thus, we will have contributed to COVID-19 treatment from Zonguldak and Tekirdag,” said Gercek.

Stressing that their easy production synthesis is another attractive feature, she said the substance prevents virus replication, keeping the number of viruses inside the body to a minimum and possibly saving people from the symptoms of the disease.

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