In the project carried out jointly by Bahçeşehir University (BAU) and Istanbul Medipol University within the body of TÜBİTAK COVID-19 Turkey Platform, it was determined that a drug used against a different disease has a strong effect potential in Covid-19 treatment. In the project, where phase-2 studies were initiated, preclinical studies proved that the molecule called Montelukast prevents the virus from entering the cell and reproducing inside the cell.
The project in development within the body of TÜBİTAK COVID-19 Turkey Platform is being conducted by Prof. Dr. Serdar Durdağı, head of the Bahçeşehir University Faculty of Medicine, Basic Medical Sciences Department and the Biophysics Department as the project executive along with Director Assoc. Dr. Mustafa Güzel, head of the Istanbul Medipol University Faculty of International Medicine, Medical Pharmacology Department and director of the Drug Discovery and Development Center as the coordinator has led to new hopes in the fight against Covid-19. In the project, where Phase-2 studies were initiated, preclinical studies revealed that the molecule called Montelukast prevents the virus from entering the cell and reproducing inside the cell. With contributions from more than 30 researchers and scholars from Bahçeşehir University (BAU), TÜBİTAK MAM, Istanbul Medipol University, and Koç University, preclinical studies were initiated within the scope of TÜBİTAK COVID-19 Turkey Platform and Bahçeşehir University Scientific Research Projects (BAP).
MORE THAN 15 THOUSAND MOLECULES EXAMINED
Within the scope of the project, more than 15 thousand molecules were scanned in the laboratories of Bahçeşehir University (BAU) with a special algorithm developed for virtual scanning and molecular modeling studies, and biological tests were applied to the selected 25 molecules. It was determined that the molecule named Montelukast was effective on SARS-CoV-2. Biological tests performed on Montelukast showed that it prevents the virus from entering the cell and reproducing inside the cell.
PHASE-2 STUDIES WILL START AT 8 CENTERS
After successful results in virus neutralization tests, clinical studies were planned for Montelukast. Phase-2 clinical study was planned on 380 volunteer patients with supports from Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul Medipol University, and TUBITAK. Clinical research permission was obtained from the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TITCK) for the clinical study. It has been reported that the Phase-2 studies will start soon at 8 different centers.
DURDAĞI: IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE USED BOTH BEFORE AND DURING TREATMENT OF COVID-19
Providing information about the study, Project Executive Prof. Dr. Serdar Durdağı commented that, “The most important feature of this drug is that it prevents the virus’ Spike / ACE2 interaction before entering the cell and it has a molecular mechanism to inhibit the main protease enzyme to prevent the virus from multiplying in the cell. In the analyzes made in virus neutralization tests, it was found that drug treatment before infection also delayed the effect of the virus."
Highlighting that a drug repurposing approach significantly reduces drug development costs and time, Durdağı continued as follows:
“Molecules addressed in drug repurposing studies do not require long-term preclinical studies, as they have previously undergone preclinical and clinical phase studies against different diseases and have well-defined profiles and therefore make excellent candidates in case of emergency disease situations or epidemics. For this reason, Phase-2 has been reached very quickly. "
GÜZEL: FULLY LOCAL RESOURCES WERE USED
Having succeeded in producing the local synthesis of the drug called Favipiravir, which was previously used in the treatment of Covid-19, Assoc. Dr. Mustafa Güzel emphasized the importance of collaboration by saying “The new drug candidate was determined with a multidisciplinary approach and a research team consisting of different institutions, with drug repositioning studies with completely local resources”.