Turkey, coronavirus pandemic

A new strain of coronavirus has emerged in Turkey, experts say

Scientists are trying to confirm if a new variant of the virus has emerged in Turkey. “There will be a new wave of the pandemic in the fall”

Experts believe that a new strain of the coronavirus could have emerged in Turkey, where infections remain at around 19,000 daily positives despite the progress of the vaccination campaign.

In statements collected by Turkish media, Dr. Lütfi Çamlı, president of the Medical Association of İzmir (a city on the west coast of Turkey), believes that a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 not identified so far could have emerged in the İzmir province, the third most populous in the country.

Çamlı assures that the rate of patients detected in İzmir with this new strain of the virus would already be around 40% of those newly infected, and the variant would have been identified in COVID-19 patients in several provinces of Turkey. According to this expert, the virus detection tests carried out throughout Turkey to identify possible variants, would have made it possible to detect this possible new strain, which would not be related to others already identified such as alpha, beta, gamma or delta.

“There will be a new wave of the pandemic in autumn”

“The delta variant (originated in India) dominates the percentage of cases (in Turkey) according to the latest tests, but we have also found this different group infected with a new variant,” explained the doctor, adding that in provinces like Rize – which at the end of July suffered a series of catastrophic floods – this possible new strain would be responsible for between 50% and 60% of new infections.

“We are not sure if it is really a new variant, or is the result of false negatives in the PCR tests, related to the lack of tests. We do not have detailed clinical data. It is necessary to confirm that it is a new variant by carrying out more studies,” Çamlı commented. Precisely a university in Istanbul is already carrying out a study of the genome of this possible mutation, although it will take time to know the results.

In the absence of confirming whether or not a new strain of the coronavirus has emerged in Turkey, it is not clear whether it is more contagious or has a higher mortality rate than the delta variant, which is behind 90% of infections in the country. Çamlı also warned that with the arrival of autumn, the pandemic may rebound: “Most scientists believe that there will be a new wave in autumn. We have to put more pressure on the vaccination program,” he said.