Turkey launches study to trace mutation patterns of COVID-19

Turkey launches study to trace mutation patterns of COVID-19

Turkey launches study to trace mutation patterns of COVID-19

This undated transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML/Handout via REUTERS)

Turkey has launched a study to find out if the novel coronavirus has mutated in the country, which’s results are expected to come out in a month.

“It is too early to say whether the virus has mutated. It is not an easy virus [to study],” said Dr. Gülay Korukluoğlu, the head of the General Directorate of Public Health’s National Virology Reference Laboratory.

Samples have been collected across the country over the past four months, and health experts began the analysis and processing work last week. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca will announce the results of the study about a month later.

Korukluoğlu also said that sub-laboratories keep sending the samples from COVID-19 positive cases to the main center, which gathers them in a pool.

“It is important to see whether the virus encountered in March is similar to the virus in June or whether the virus sample sent in from the country’s southeast in April has similar features with the ones collected from the Black Sea region in the same month,” she explained.

She doubted the suggestions that the low total COVID-19 cases to death ratio in Turkey might be related to the possible mutation of the virus.

“I never thought this could be linked to the mutation of the coronavirus. I believe our treatment response and the development of treatment protocols have been very good,” she said.

“I believe the treatment protocols are selected under the light of the latest scientific knowledge. Thus, I do not believe the lower death ratio is not directly related to the mutation of the virus,” she added.