Human trials for indigenous vaccine to start within 10 days in Turkey

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Efforts in Turkey to develop an indigenous vaccine against the novel coronavirus have reached the human trials stage, the country’s top health official said.

The country will begin human trials for three locally produced COVID-19 vaccines within 10 days, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Koca’s announcement came during a visit to pharmaceutical companies in the northwestern Tekirdağ province where he examined the laboratory where the vaccine is being developed and received information about the process.

After his tour of the premises, Koca informed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the status of the vaccine and relayed the information in a video call.

“I want to share some good news with you,” Koca told Erdoğan.

“You know there are currently 13 vaccines being developed in our country for COVID-19. That vaccine has just completed tests on animals successfully, which concluded the preclinical trials. I wanted to give you the good news that the vaccine has reached the human trial phase.”

The minister explained that the animal trials included 19 animals infected with the coronavirus, 10 of them given the vaccine, while nine were placed in a control group without administering the vaccine.

After two weeks, none of the animals injected with the vaccine had died, and their lungs had no traces of the virus, Koca said.

Meanwhile, four of the animals in the control group died, and the five remaining still had the virus lingering in their lungs, he added.

Rare symptoms in eyes

Meanwhile, a Turkish doctor warned that some coronavirus patients could show COVID-19 in their eyes, albeit rarely.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Tuncay Sezgin, an optometry doctor, said that such symptoms were reported in at least 1 percent or -2 percent of COVID-19 patients, noting that eyes are an important transmission route for the virus.

Noting that red eyes, a condition known as conjunctivitis, had been identified in such patients, Sezgin recommended that people in occupations involving frequent and close contact with others should use protective eyewear.

He said while protective eyewear would not be sufficient protection by itself, it could reduce the chances of contracting the virus via droplets coming into contact with eyes.

Hurriyet Daily News

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