ANKARA, KAYSERI, Turkey
Turkey’s indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine candidate Turkovac was administered to volunteers as part of Phase 3 clinical trials this week.
The clinical trials for the vaccine developed jointly by the Erciyes University and the Health Institutes of Turkey (TUSEB) are ongoing at the Ankara City Hospital in the capital.
More than 40,000 volunteers from Turkey and abroad are participating in the trials.
Infectious diseases specialist Bircan Kayaaslan spoke to the Anadolu Agency on the recent vaccine development studies underway at the hospital.
“Previous studies show that our national vaccine is quite effective,” Kayaaslan said.
Mustafa Calis, rector of the Erciyes University, said: “All of our volunteers developed 100% antibodies against the virus after getting the vaccine. This is huge. Not only the level of antibodies but other parameters were very effective.”
Turkish medical teams are also studying its effect on mutant viruses, Calis added.
One of the volunteers, 33-year-old Tahsin Tunc, told Anadolu Agency: “Although I was among COVID-19 vaccine priority groups, I did not receive a foreign vaccine as I wanted to contribute to the vaccine development program. I believed more in the Turkovac.”
Amid a nationwide fall in COVID-19 cases, Turkey is set to end all restrictions, which include nighttime curfews and full lockdown on Sundays, as of July 1.
According to the latest government figures, Turkey's overall case tally is now over 5.38 million, while the nationwide death toll is at 49,358.
Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed nearly 3.9 million lives in 192 countries and regions, with some 179.6 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US' Johns Hopkins University.
*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara
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