prof. Dr. Derya Forgetz said that they have made significant progress in their work on a new treatment method that can be effective against all variants of COVID-19.
Forgetzmez, who has been working as an immunology specialist for 30 years, gave information about the method they developed using synthetic biology technology.
Noting that variants of COVID-19 can escape from the antibodies developed by the body, therefore, even people who have completed their vaccinations are infected with the virus, Noting that the omicron variant, which is currently in effect in the world, is the latest example of this.
Noting that he and his team set out with the question “Can we develop an immune system that can be effective against all variants”, Forgetz explained the point reached about the new method they have been working on for a long time:
“We recently accomplished this. What kind of treatment method? Actually, we used synthetic biology technology here. There are protrusions on the surface of the virus that we call spike protein, these are the keys to the virus. Using these, the virus attaches to the lock on the surface of the cell and opens it, getting inside. After that, it produces its own proteins, makes copies and spreads it to other cells. This is much further in the Omicron, because it has changed that key so well that it can bind to the lock much better, while avoiding antibodies at the same time. The method we developed is actually to trap the virus. How do we do this? We took the lock on the surface of this cell and turned it into a molecule with synthetic biology. When the virus sees this, it thinks that it is connecting to the lock of the cell, and because it is attached to it, it is neutralized somewhere, that is, it is blocked and cannot enter the cell.”
Noting that no variant of COVID-19 could escape this method, Forgetz said that as the virus develops itself, it attaches even better to this synthetic lock, so their work will be an effective method against variants that may arise in the future.
“WE ALSO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS TO OTHER CELLS”
Forgetmez noted the following about a second defense mechanism they developed, in addition to turning the lock on the cell surface into molecules:
“This is actually to show the immune army within us, the cells within us that are infected with the virus. We can also liken it to a weapon, that is, like tagging the enemy, an infected cell with a laser, I am explaining it simply, of course. At the same time, there are snipers of the immune system, which we call T cells, in the background. It is necessary to mark which cell contains the virus. The second side of the synthetic molecule that we produce also does this.”
Noting that synthetic molecules help T cells to destroy infected cells by showing them, Do not forget, “In this way, we prevent the virus from reproducing, that is, from spreading to other cells.” said.
Noting that this is a method developed in such a way that the virus cannot escape, he said that this technological method can also be developed and used against newly emerging viruses.
“REACTIONS SHOWED SO FAR ARE VERY POSITIVE”
Noting that they have been working on this method, which they started with a foresight, for about a year, Forgetz said that they achieved very successful results in the laboratory environment in programming cells, which is the synthetic biology part, and that the next steps are animal and human trials.
He remembers, “We think we can finish the animal studies by summer, maybe a little earlier, if we can move forward fast. After that, we can start human studies again quickly and maybe clarify this treatment method by the end of the year.” he said.
Noting that they were very excited about the point reached in the studies, Forgetz stated that the first reactions from scientists to the pre-published study were also very positive and encouraging.
He does not forget, “In fact, incredible studies have been carried out on COVID-19 for 2 years. Of course, we are very happy to be able to develop such a method in this process. Others either didn’t think of it or failed. Of course, this is not important, the important thing is that we have a benefit to humanity. The reactions so far have been very positive.” said.
“I THINK AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE PANDEMIC WILL END WITH OMICRON”
Noting that this method is the first to be found against COVID-19, Forgetmez also shared that they were inspired by the cancer immunotherapy they have been working on for a long time, and that they adapted this concept to cells infected with the virus.
Noting that these studies were supported by two Turkish doctors, one of whom is an immunology specialist living in Turkey, he said, “The best scientists and students who have come to me so far have always come from Turks, I am very happy that they have supported especially innovative studies.” he said.
Emphasizing that biotechnology is developing in Turkey and that they may be able to do some of the work there in the future, Unforgettable noted the following regarding the COVID-19 outbreak:
“We went through a very difficult process, it’s been almost 2 years, we are all very tired, but people should not despair. I think a significant part of the pandemic will end with Omicron. With the methods we have developed, we will prepare our defense against future variants. In the end, humanity and science will win, people should not worry.”