The scientist developing Turkey's virus-like particle (VLP) coronavirus vaccine candidate urged the country Wednesday to get vaccinated with available vaccine doses in the country until it is released.
Phase 2 trials of the VLP vaccine candidate -- which was included in the World Health Organization’s list of COVID-19 vaccine candidates -- were successfully completed in August. The jab is among five VLP vaccine candidates in the world that have reached the clinical trial stage.
Ihsan Gursel, a professor of molecular biology and genetics at Bilkent University in the capital Ankara, told Anadolu Agency that he and his wife, Mayda Gursel, a biology professor at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, are preparing for Phase 3 trials of the domestic vaccine candidate.
He noted that the VLP jabs will be also tested against the Delta variant in Phase 3 trials, adding no serious side effects were detected during the Phase 2 trials.
- Vaccine reluctance
Speaking on vaccine reluctance and hostility, Gursel said it is very difficult to correct misinformation about COVID vaccines.
He underlined that the hesitation, anti-vaccine and anti-science opposition has increased not only in Turkey but also around the world.
"The US suffers tremendously from this too. Although they have invested billions of dollars in vaccines, it has become so politicized," he said.
"A group of people neither wear masks nor get vaccinated. This has nothing to do with freedom. I don't have the right to kill someone else by not wearing a mask. We are fighting against an invisible enemy," he said.
Gursel called on all people to get vaccinated and obey the protective measures.
"There is no point in waiting for the Turkish vaccine," he said, adding the available vaccines should be used before the domestic one is out.
He highlighted that widespread use of Turkey's domestic VLP vaccine may begin next January or February if research goes in the expected direction.
The professor stressed that he foresees domestic vaccine studies providing a "great impetus" to Turkey and that the country will be better prepared for the next pandemics.
He also said that the domestic vaccine will be a "great gain" for the country.
*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara