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Turkey continues research to domestically produce COVID-19 vaccine

Turkey continues research to domestically produce COVID-19 vaccine

As Turkey works to domestically produce a coronavirus vaccine, with the leading candidate in late-stage clinical trials already, a second vaccine could begin human trials by late January, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said Sunday.

“We are in close coordination with the Health Ministry to start human trials. Plans are underway to manufacture 50 million doses for the first batch,” Varank said.

The minister’s remarks came as he toured Nobel Pharmaceutical’s biotechnological medicine facilities in Istanbul, where he received a briefing from the vaccine’s developers.

According to the company, the vaccine is being developed with the latest technology and uses virus-like particles (VLP), which mimic the structure of the coronavirus but contain no genetic material from it.

Used by more than 100 vaccines across the world, the method is commonly used in the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. None of the coronavirus vaccines approved so far use VLP.

Recent studies suggest VLP vaccines for influenza could provide stronger and longer-lasting protection against flu viruses than conventional vaccines.

“Since it’s a very innovative method, there could be demand for it worldwide,” Varan said.