Turkey, volunteers for the Turkish coronavirus vaccine

Over 800,000 volunteers to test Turkish COVID vaccine

Fewer than 41,000 volunteers will be chosen for Turkovac, the 1st Turkish vaccine, which will be available by the end of the year.

More than 800,000 volunteers have come forward for phase III of Turkovac, one of the COVID vaccines developed by Turkish scientists, Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced yesterday.

In total there are 846,451 people who have volunteered to test the Turkish coronavirus vaccine, well above the 40,800 that were needed in this phase III that began yesterday. Turkovac has been developed by a group of scientists from the Erciyes University of Kayseri and the Turkish Institutes of Health, a body under the Ministry of Health that groups together several health institutions.

Volunteers for the vaccine will be chosen from people between 18 and 55 years old, who have not been previously infected by the virus, who have not received any doses of another vaccine against COVID-19, and who do not have a diagnosed chronic disease affecting their immune system.

The Turkovac vaccine will be available for export by the end of the year

The vaccine is one of 18 that are currently being developed in the Eurasian country, and if the tests are successful it is expected that it will be the first available to be supplied to the population; experts’ forecasts suggest that the entire process could conclude in November, so that Turkovac could begin to be administered and exported to other countries by the end of the year.

Turkovac, previously called ERUCOV-VAC and developed in a period of 7 months by a group of Turkish scientists led by Professor Aykut Özdarendeli, began its tests in phase I in November 2020, and phase II in early February; so far no side effects have been detected among volunteers and it has proven effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

If tests in volunteers are successful, this Turkish COVID vaccine could be used as a third booster dose in those who have already received two doses of the Sinovac or Pfizer vaccine in Turkey. Turkovac is an inactivated vaccine and therefore uses the same technology as CoronaVac (the Sinovac vaccine), as opposed to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.