Turks to volunteer for human trials for potential virus vaccine

Some 100 Turks will take part in the third phase of the human trials for a possible COVID-19 vaccine being developed jointly by pharma companies BioNTech and Pfizer.

The human trials on 30,000 people across the globe for the BNT162 vaccine were launched in July, and the Turkish leg of the trials will take place in Istanbul to be coordinated by the Istanbul Medical School.

Turkish scientist Professor Uğur Şahin, who is the CEO of BioNTech, is leading the vaccine team.

An approval from the ethics committee is expected shortly and a call for volunteers will be made following permissions from Turkey’s Health Ministry, said Professor Tufan Tükek, the dean of Istanbul Medical School.
The vaccine will be injected to the volunteers and data will be collected. Results will probably come out around November, and after processing the data, a decision on whether the production of the vaccine will go ahead will be taken, Tükek explained.

The Turkish volunteers will be examined regularly, and their antibody level will be checked, he noted.

Being part of the study can be regarded as a precondition for the vaccine to be made available in Turkey, Tükek added.

He also dismissed concerns that Turkey will have limited access to vaccines when they are successfully developed.

We are partners in vaccine developments. We are part of the working group and Turkey is conducting its own vaccine development, Tükek said.

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