Turkey working on six virus vaccine candidates
Turkey is supporting six projects on vaccine development against the coronavirus, including the one in the form of a nasal spray, the head of the Health Institutes of Turkey (TÜSEB) has said.
Two other vaccine projects’ transaction processes are also ongoing, Erhan Akdoğan told Anadolu Agency.
The projects are being carried out at six Turkish universities including Erciyes, Hacettepe, Yıldız Teknik, Marmara, Atatürk and Akdeniz.
Among these projects, the vaccine candidate at Erciyes University is at the phase 2 trial stage, Akdogan said.
“Researches are still continuing at the university. Scientific processes are underway for the vaccine development. We hope that the vaccine will come out soon.”
A little more time is needed to reveal the preliminary results of the Erciyes University project, he added.
Both scientists and TÜSEB as well as the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBİTAK) provided the necessary support for research and development very quickly and continues to do so, according to Akdoğan.
He stressed that the TÜSEB began to support scientific projects for the development of vaccines immediately after the first coronavirus case was reported in Turkey.
Jab as nasal spray
While the vaccine candidate developed at the Erciyes University is an inactive one, Akdoğan said that many different types of vaccine studies are being carried out in Turkey, including one in the form of a nasal spray.
“This is a new technology in the world as well,” he said, adding that its research and development process continues.
“Human trials have not yet begun for this vaccine candidate. This is a different vaccine developed by a private organization,” he added.
The product will come out after the scientific studies on domestic vaccines are completed, Akdoğan said, adding when the phase 3 trial is completed and it gets the necessary approvals from the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency, it will go into production and widespread vaccination will be carried out.
“Production will take place in Turkey,” he added.
Turkey rolled out its vaccination program on Jan. 14. Nearly 14 million doses of the injection developed by the Chinese pharmaceuticals company Sinovac have been administered to date. More than 8.1 million people have received the first dose of the jab while some 5.9 million have received both doses.
Turkey is carrying out the four-stage inoculation drive and working to develop its own vaccine at a time when the coronavirus cases have been on the rise particularly after the country moved to the controlled normalization phase.
The number of daily infections has been hovering above 20,000 since March 18, according to official data.
Turkey is presently going through the third wave in the outbreak, experts told daily Milliyet.
Daily cases, fatalities and the number of people to be treated in intensive care units are likely to peak in April, they warned.
Istanbul is among the five provinces which registered the highest rates of infections per 100,000 population in the last week, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on March 23.
“The test positivity rate has increased to 10 to 15 percent from between 4 and 5 percent,” said Professor Tufan Tükek, the dean of Istanbul Medical School Hospital.
As the virus cases are climbing in the city, new wards have been set up in the city’s Çapa and Cerrahpaşa hospitals, the daily reported.