High demand for phase three trials of domestic vaccine
Following the launch of phase three clinical trials for an indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine by Turkish authorities, hundreds of thousands of Turks have applied to volunteer in the trials in line with the development efforts.
“The first dose [of the jab] was administered in the third phase studies. Though 40,800 volunteers were needed for the trials, 846,451 applications were received via E-Nabız [an application run by the Health Ministry] in a short time,” Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.
Expressing that he has complete faith in the results, Koca said that Turkey would soon be among the few countries producing its own vaccine and whose vaccine would be used worldwide.
The vaccine will be tried on more than 40,000 volunteers, and experts say that the whole process can be concluded by November.
People falling between the age group of 18 and 55, who never had COVID-19, had not been vaccinated and had never tested positive for PCR were selected as volunteers for the phase three trials. And those with chronic diseases affecting the immune system were excluded from the trials.
During the evaluation process, volunteers responded to a questionnaire, which asked whether they used public transport, whether they were working, or if they worked in a public environment close to other people.
As a result of the examinations, those who met the necessary conditions were approved to participate in the phase three trials, which will be held in more than two dozen centers across Turkey.
The Turkovac is being developed in cooperation with Erciyes University and the Health Institutes of Turkey (TUSEB).
It is expected to be the first locally-made vaccine to be available in the country if it receives approval from the Health Ministry after safety tests. If the approval process takes less time, the vaccine will be fully available for the Turkish public by the start of next year.
The country also plans to export the vaccine once it is approved.
Meanwhile, since Turkey launched a mass vaccination campaign this January, nearly 44 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered so far.
According to the Health Ministry, Over 29.3 million people have received their first doses, while over 14.6 million have been fully vaccinated.
Amid a nationwide fall in COVID-19 cases, Turkey is set to end pandemic curfews as of July 1.
That same day Turkey will also lift intercity travel restrictions and restrictions on urban public transport, and public institutions and organizations will return to normal working order.