By Sevgi Ceren Gokkoyun
ANKARA (AA) - Significant progress has been made in laboratory studies under a project at Ankara University in Turkey, where drug studies are being conducted to reduce the effects of COVID-19.
The project, "Investigation of the Effectiveness of Existing Drug Active Substances Against COVID-19, In-Silico, In-Vitro and In-Vivo," is being carried out under the leadership of Dr. Mehmet Unal from the university.
As part of the project, thousands of drug molecules were evaluated through computer simulations and the effects of 43 molecules on the virus were investigated.
Laboratory studies have shown that the ribavirin molecule is effective against the virus and that the drug reduces the effects of COVID-19 in the organism.
All laboratory studies for ribavirin have been completed and patient trials will begin soon, Unal told Anadolu Agency.
He stressed that ribavirin, which has been used to treat Hepatitis C for many years, is a broad-spectrum anti-viral drug effective against DNA and RNA viruses. This is why it has been placed on the research group’s list.
"Ribavirin can be produced with local and national means in our country when its effectiveness is proven," Unal said.
Stating that animal experiments have been started for a drug on other molecules that can be effective against the virus, Unal said "there are other molecules that we are hopeful for, and we want to start clinical studies as soon as their laboratory studies are completed."
He also stressed that the results obtained are regularly shared with TUBITAK, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey.
Turkey’s Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank previously mentioned that scientists have proven in laboratory studies that the ribavirin molecule is effective in the treatment of the disease.
*Writing by Merve Berker