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Turkey to inspect high virus prevalence in the Black Sea region

Turkey to inspect high virus prevalence in the Black Sea region

Since the practice of announcing the weekly number of cases for each province started last month, the Black Sea region in the north dominates the list of places with the highest incidence of COVID-19. The reasons vary, but a group of researchers suspects it might have something to do with a variant exclusive to the region.

Professor Faruk Aydın, head of the Department of Medical Microbiology at Karadeniz Technical University (KTÜ) in the northern province of Trabzon, which had the highest number of weekly cases when the first results were announced, leads the team of researchers. Researchers will analyze samples of the virus collected from Ordu, Trabzon, Samsun, Giresun and Rize, which remain in the “red” category in a map showing the provinces under outbreak risk. “Red” means very high risk, which, in turn, delays “normalization” for the region, while most of the country began the new week with the lifting of a string of restrictions.

Although authorities stepped up inspections against violations of rules in place to curb the pandemic, like mandatory masks and social distancing, it did little to change the risk level. The only apparent change is that Ordu is now ahead of Trabzon with the highest number of weekly cases, around 301 per every 100,000 people.

Researchers will look into COVID-19 samples taken from different families in the region and check their genetic sequence. The study ultimately aims to uncover whether a brand-new mutated virus, differing from foreign variants, exists in the region.