Erdoğan says Turkey third country after U.S.,China to develop COVID-19 vaccine

Turkey has followed the United States as China to become the third country to locally develop a vaccine against COVID-19, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday.

Two vaccine candidates have successfully completed animal testing while and another is in the process of receiving ethical approval to move on to the clinical trial on humans,  Sözcü newspaper quoted Erdoğan as saying at the opening ceremony of a Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) centre in the northwestern province of Kocaeli.

"Turkey is in third place, behind the United States and China, on the World Health Organisation’s global list of countries that have developed vaccines,’’ the Turkish president said. 

Erdoğan said TÜBİTAK’s COVID-19 Platform is currently working on eight different vaccines and 10 different medication projects against the deadly virus, whose first case was announced in Turkey on March 11.

Erdoğan’s remarks arrive as Turkey announced on Sunday the total number of COVID-10 cases in the country had reached  240,804, with a death toll of 5,844.

In April, Turkish doctor Ercüment Ovalı made headlines when had claimed that Turkey was among the few countries that had developed a coronavirus vaccine. The Health Ministry-run Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board had dismissed a claim by Ovalı earlier in the month that a medication called "Dornaz Alfa’’ was effective in fighting the novel virus.