World Health Organization (WHO) has included Turkish University’s SARS-COV-2 mRNA vaccine studies in its monitoring list.
Professor Tulin Cora, Head of the Medical Genetics Department of Selcuk University in central Konya province, said in a statement that their vaccine study is one of the eight studies being done under Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK).
Recalling that approximately 2,000 vaccine projects are carried out around the world, Cora said: “The World Health Organization has included 165 of these vaccine projects on its watch list. Two vaccine projects from Selcuk University were included in this list.”
An inactivated vaccine project against COVID-19, carried out by Professor Osman Erganis from our university, is also included in this list, she said.
COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Project Leader Nadir Kocak said that 14 vaccines using RNA technology were included in the watch list of the WHO.
Emphasizing that they were working on mRNA vaccine technologies for cancer treatment before the COVID-19 pandemic, Kocak said: “We have entered the process of preparing an mRNA-based project against COVID-19 with our professors from different universities of our country, where we have previously conducted various studies on molecular issues and are prone to basic techniques used in mRNA technology.”
“Our project in a very short time was accepted as part of the TUBITAK 1004 Center of Excellence Project, and included in Turkey’s COVID-19 platform formed by Ministry of Industry and Technology,” he added.
“We will soon be creating our first sample vaccine. After creating our vaccine, we are planning to move on to animal experiments. We hope that after the animal experiments we can start phase studies,” he said.
Ibrahim Yildirim, Project Laboratory Coordinator of Dicle University, said that the vaccine study was the first mRNA vaccine project in Turkey.
“Our project continues with the contributions of our professors from Dicle University, Karatay University, Inonu University, Istinye University, Etlik Zubeyde Hanım Gynecology Training, and Research Hospital, Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, and Usak University,” he said.
“We expect the vaccine we have created to generate a specific immune response in animal and human experiments,” he added.
Turkey reports 1,482 more infections
On Sunday, Turkey reported 1,482 more infections over the past 24 hours, raising the overall count to 268,546. A total of 6,326 died due to the virus in the country.
Since it originated in China last December, the coronavirus has claimed more than 846,800 lives in 188 countries and regions. The US, Brazil, India, and Russia are currently the worst-hit countries.
More than 25.24 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries exceeding 16.63 million, according to figures compiled by the US' Johns Hopkins University.