Turkey, Health, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19: Turkey making headway in vaccine development

Under COVID-19 Platform, 7 vaccine, 7 drug development projects being conducted: Technology minister

Aysu Bicer   | 02.04.2020
COVID-19: Turkey making headway in vaccine development

ANKARA

Turkey has made remarkable progress in developing a vaccine to fight the coronavirus outbreak, including determining innovative approaches to get faster results, the country's industry and technology minister said on Thursday.

Mustafa Varank said under Turkey’s COVID-19 Platform, seven vaccine projects and seven drug development projects using chemical and biotechnological methods are currently being conducted.

"The Industry and Technology Ministry started its work before the epidemic reached global dimensions," he said, adding that Turkey has been closely following the pandemic’s worldwide impact.

Amid official efforts to stem the virus’ spread, the Turkish government is providing support to institutes and researchers in the country working to find vaccines.

Under the leadership of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), vaccine and drug development projects are being carried out.

'Flatten the curve’

"We held our first coronavirus-related meeting in this area while the virus was still within China, exactly two months ago," said Varank, adding that they went on to use a result-oriented approach.

In order to make the process as fast and efficient as possible, a COVID-19 sub-platform was established under the coordination of TUBITAK's Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Institute.

For this lofty goal, hundreds of researchers from 24 universities, eight public R&D units, and eight private sector organizations have been working diligently.

"The more we can flatten the disease curve, the greater the chances of scientific solutions coming into play," said Varank.

After surfacing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 180 countries and regions.

The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 47,000, with more than 938,000 cases confirmed worldwide, according to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. Over 194,000 have recovered from the infection so far.

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