virus, coronavirus pandemic

Turkey launches study to detect coronavirus mutations

Scientists will analyse whether the current virus is the same as the one at the peak of the pandemic. There are 16,000 active cases in Turkey.

Turkey has launched a scientific study to determine if the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has undergone mutations after spreading across the country. The results, which are expected to be ready in a month, could help fight the virus, which to date has caused nearly 6,000 deaths on Turkish territory.

“It is still too early to say whether the virus has mutated. It is not an easy virus to analyse,” Dr. Gülay Korukluoğlu, head of the National Virology Reference Laboratory of the Turkish General Public Health Agency, told the media. To carry out the study, samples have been collected for the last 4 months throughout the country, which have begun to be analysed a few days ago. Results will be announced in a month.

“It is important to see if the virus found in March (in Turkey) is similar to the virus in June, or if the virus samples sent from the southeast of the country in April has similar characteristics with the samples collected in the Black Sea region in the same month,” explained the virologist.

However, Korukluoğlu denies that the low death rate of the coronavirus in Turkey is due to a possible mutation of the virus, and attributes it to the effectiveness of the health system in Turkey. “I have never thought that this is linked to a mutation. I think our response and the development of treatment protocols have been very good,” she underlined.

Fear of a spike in COVID-19 cases during the Feast of Sacrifice

According to the latest data announced on Sunday by the Minister of Health, Fahrettin Koca, 987 new cases of coronavirus have been detected in Turkey in the last 24 hours, while 978 people have been discharged in the same day, totalling 216,494 people who have overcome the disease in the country, while the number of accumulated cases has reached 232,856.

This means that today there are just over 16,000 active cases of coronavirus in Turkey, approximately half that of just a month ago. Koca also announced that in the last 24 hours 18 people had died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths caused by the pandemic to 5,728.

However, the minister expressed his concern about a possible increase in coronavirus cases in Turkey during the Feast of Sacrifice due to the relaxation of precautionary measures, the consequences of which will be seen in the coming days: an increase that has already been detected in the Ankara, Mardin, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep and Konya provinces.