UK variant virus ‘may spreading rapidly in Turkey’
Findings from a study in Istanbul show that the coronavirus variant that has moved through the U.K. may now be spreading “rapidly” through Turkey.
A group of scientists, who examined the genome sequence of the COVID-19 virus in Istanbul, have reached significant findings in a laboratory research that has been going on since the beginning of the pandemic.
Sharing the results of the study with Milliyet daily, Mert Ahmet Kuşkucu from Istanbul University Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine explained that 150 samples have been examined so far, and that the research, although micro-scaled, contains important clues in terms of understanding the spread of variant viruses.
“Shortly after the emergence of the U.K. variant, we saw the variant called the D614G mutation in 44 percent of the samples in our laboratory research,” Kuşkucu said, adding that the Brazilian variant was detected in just one sample and the [South] African variant virus was detected in a few patients.
“Our findings show that there is no major change except for the U.K. variant for now,” Kuşkucu noted.
Underlining that the U.K. variant can spread more easily and spread quickly, the academic stated that the reason for the increase in cases in the Black Sea region may be due to the effect of the U.K. variant.
Five neighboring provinces in Turkey’s Black Sea region have the highest weekly average cases, according to Health Ministry data.
Referring to rumors about the emergence of the Argentine variant virus in Turkey that recently came to the health authorities’ agenda, Kuşkucu stated that they did not have such a conclusion until now, and that if they had, they would have made the necessary warnings.
Meanwhile, Turkey recorded its highest daily coronavirus cases in nearly three months with 20,000 new infections, Health Ministry data showed on March 19.
Authorities introduced a raft of restrictive measures after the daily cases leapt to 30,000 towards the end of 2020.
Experts tie the rise in case numbers to three factors: Increased mobility amid normalization, new variants of the virus spreading faster across the country and the public failure to comply with rules as some drop their guard in light of the normalization process.
The country rolled out its inoculation program on Jan. 14.
Nearly 8 million people received the first dose of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine, while another 4.9 million people have received both doses.