Phase 3 trials have begun for Turkovac, Turkey’s locally developed vaccination against COVID-19, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Wednesday.
The clinical trials will be conducted in Azerbaijan, Poland, Hungary and Uzbekistan, according to DW.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended by video link the administering of the phase 3 first shot to a volunteer in Turkey.
Erdoğan also delivered a speech, stressing that work on the locally developed vaccine has entered the final stage with the start of the phase 3 trials.
“The vaccines we acquired from abroad are important, but what really matters is producing our own vaccine. How long this pandemic will last and how many variants of the virus will emerge are not known. It is critical for us to have our own vaccine so that we can get our country out of this ordeal as soon as possible and secure our nation’s health and welfare,” said Erdoğan, urging Turks to get their shots immediately to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, too, attended the vaccination program at Ankara City Hospital and pointed to the significance of the moment, saying: “With the phase 1 and phase 2 trials, we have seen the reliability of the vaccine and the immune response. Today, the vaccine has moved on to the phase 3 trials.”
“We want to check the effectiveness of the vaccine in particular during phase 3, and then the widespread use of the vaccine will start,” Koca said.
Turkovac was developed by the Vaccine Research and Development Center and the Good Clinical Practice and Research Center of Erciyes University with support from the Health Institutes of Turkey. Its phase 1 and phase 2 trials were conducted on 44 volunteers and 250 volunteers, respectively.
Professor Aykut Özdarendeli, director of the Vaccine Research and Development Center, said they had developed significant experience and infrastructure for vaccines for future diseases.