On April 7, an online seminar was held by Professor of Akdeniz University of Turkey, Head of the International Laboratory of Molecular Bioengineering of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnologies of ANAS, Corresponding Member of ANAS, Professor Tarlan Mammadov on the topic “Production and preclinical evaluation of vaccines against COVID-19 and therapeutic proteins synthesized in plants ".
The seminar was attended by employees of research institutes that are part of the Division of Biological and Medical Sciences of ANAS, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as scientific institutions of the Medical Territorial Administration (TABIB).
Opening the event, Vice-President of ANAS, General Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnologies, academician Irada Huseynova said that today's seminar was devoted to the development of vaccines that play an important role in solving such a global problem as the fight against coronavirus.
She noted that ANAS Corresponding Member Tarlan Mammadov was one of the scientists who defended the first doctoral dissertation on "Molecular Biology" in Azerbaijan and had extensive experience in this field in many leading universities and research centers in the world.
The Vice President noted that Professor Tarlan Mammadov was directly involved in the development of vaccines in the United States, and is the author of numerous patents and articles. She added that the Azerbaijani scientist also participates as an expert in the implementation of highly competitive grant projects funded by TUBITAK in Turkey and is the head of many projects of this fund. The scientist conducts extensive research on the development of vaccines. Academician Irada Huseynova noted that the vaccine developed by Tarlan Mammadov is included in the list of vaccines at the preclinical stage of the World Health Organization, and the results are published in 2021 in three prestigious journals.
The vice-president of ANAS said that Azerbaijan is one of the leading countries in the fight against coronavirus. She noted that as a result of the purposeful policy pursued by the President in this direction, paying attention to the protection of the health of citizens, unlike many countries, Azerbaijan has no problems with providing vaccinations. Academician Irada Huseynova touched upon the need to develop local vaccines in Azerbaijan, noting that the country's scientists have great potential in this area.
Then, the report of the Corresponding Member of ANAS, Professor Tarlan Mammadov on the topic "Production and preclinical evaluation of vaccines against COVID-19 and therapeutic proteins synthesized in plants" was heard.
He noted that the only way to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus that caused the coronavirus pandemic, considered the greatest crisis of humanity since the Second World War, is vaccination.
He spoke about the technology currently being developed for coronavirus vaccines around the world, and said that work with a team of 20 people began in the early days of the pandemic.
Professor Tarlan Mammadov emphasized that the new type of coronavirus, since it has an RNA genome, must mutate, and therefore developed a vaccine taking into account the negative consequences of these mutations.
Speaking about the features of SARS-CoV-2, the speaker noted that the new Omicron variant has more than 60 mutations compared to the Wuhan strain, with 36 of these mutations found in the Spike (S) protein sequence: "The nucleocapsid (N) protein sequence is more conserved. For this reason, taking into account the negative impact of mutations, we have developed the world's first antigenic cocktail (N+RBD) vaccine, consisting of a mixture of receptor-binding domains (RBDs) of N and S proteins.
Tarlan Mammadov noted that they have developed two vaccines based on RBD and one based on a cocktail against COVID-19. The scientist said that these vaccines are very effective against the Delta and Omicron variants (with more than 60 mutations) and in general can be resistant to all future mutations.
“From 1 kg of Nicotiana benthamiana, up to 25 milligrams of a cocktail vaccine can be made, which is enough for 5,000 people. When work on this vaccine is completed, we plan to name it "Karabakh", Professor Tarlan Mammadov added. According to him, his team applied the technology they developed to the development of these vaccines and is currently the author of several patents in this area.
The scientist and his team have also developed a universal therapeutic protein against COVID-19, a recombinant drug based on ACE2 with the SARS-CoV-2 receptor, which is effective in combating the virus, especially in the treatment of people with high blood pressure due to COVID-19. The speaker noted that this drug can be used as an injection or nasal spray. He said that the results in this area are published in Frontiers in plant science (impact factor - 5.753), the most popular journal in the field of molecular biotechnology after the journal Nature.
At the end of his speech, Professor Tarlan Mammadov also said that Akdeniz University has developed vaccines against rabies and malaria, and these vaccines are being tested on humans.
At the seminar, extensive discussions of the report were held, corresponding member of ANAS Tarlan Mammadov answered numerous questions of the participants.
The discussion was attended by the Vice-President of ANAS, Academician Irada Huseynova, Head of the Laboratory of the Research Institute of Pulmonary Diseases Nuria Salimova, Executive Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnologies of ANAS, Doctor of Philosophy, Associate Professor Alamdar Mammadov, heads of laboratories Doctor of Biological Sciences, Associate Professor Nurmamed Mustafayev, Doctor of Philosophy in Biology Ismail Zulfugarov, head of the laboratory of the Institute of Physiology of ANAS named after A.I. Garayev, Doctor of Biology Arif Mehdiyev and others.
Summing up the results of the seminar, academician Irada Huseynova emphasized the importance of infrastructure and training in this area in Azerbaijan, emphasizing that Tarlan Mammadov supported our students studying in Azerbaijan and Turkey in this direction.