Turkey launched mass production of its domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac on Wednesday after receiving emergency use approval following studies on volunteers that demonstrated its efficacy.
Turkey quickly took action once the country’s first coronavirus case was reported in March 2020 and launched studies to develop its first vaccine to combat the outbreak.
Among the vaccine studies supported by the Presidency of Turkish Health Institutes (TUSEB) and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), the inactive vaccine developed by Erciyes University showed the fastest progress.
While the development process for Turkovac began in April 2020, preclinical studies where animal trials were held were successfully concluded in October that year.
Phase 1 studies for the vaccine kicked off the following month and it was administered to 44 volunteers. Phase 2 studies were launched on Feb. 10, 2021 with 250 volunteers. With both phases showing positive data, authorities launched Phase 3 of the development process.
As part of the Phase 3 studies, the first dose of the vaccine was administered on June 22, 2021 in a program participated in by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who announced the name of the vaccine as Turkovac.