Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that the country has around 1 million boxes of a drug that is used on patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.
Koca said on April 7 that many countries are now looking to purchase large amounts of this drug, but Turkey, thanks to its early action, has already stockpiled this medicine.
“We have stockpiled close to 1 million boxes of this medicine before even the first case was seen. Many countries are now in efforts to use this medicine. Many countries are now preferring to use this medicine for serious cases of incubated patients. But, the [Turkish Health Ministry's Coronavirus] Science Committee says that this medicine is useful in early stages [of the treatment],” Koca said, adding the Health Ministry has distributed this medicine to all health institutions treating coronavirus patients.
He said that in recent days, coronavirus patients were less likely to develop pulmonary infection and this was most likely the outcome of "starting drug treatment in early stages." "We have procured the drug soon and succeeded to distribute it to our patients."
Koca made the remarks during a press conference after chairing a meeting of the Turkish Health Ministry's Coronavirus Science Committee.
The minister did not name the medicine but the anti-malarial drug chloroquine has recently been used to treat coronavirus patients in some countries. There is no consensus regarding the drug's safety or effectiveness, but U.S. President Donald Trump called the drug “game changer” and urged Americans to take it.Turkey imports medicine from China believed to be effective against coronavirus
Meanwhile, Koca had said in March that Turkey brought “a special drug” used in China believed to have resulted in improvements in coronavirus patients. Turkish media and doctors later disclosed the treatment as the antiviral drug Favipiravir, also known as Avigan, which China says has been helpful in shortening treatment time of COVID-19 patients.
Turkey’s coronavirus death toll reaches 725 with 34,109 cases
Koca also announced the latest tally regarding coronavirus infections, saying Turkey's death toll from the coronavirus rose by 76 to total 725 and new confirmed cases rose by 3,892 to bring the country’s total to 34,109.
He said that 20,023 tests for the COVID-19 disease had been performed in Turkey in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests to 222,868.
The minister also posted the coronavirus infection data on his Twitter account.
Şifa bulan hastalarımızın sayısı artıyor. Test sayısı ve pozitif vakalara bağlı taramalar arttıkça tanı sayısında da artış oluyor. Virüs, gücünü temas ortamından alıyor. Virüse bu fırsatı tanımayalım. Evde kalalım.https://t.co/RVlhe7786O pic.twitter.com/IO8q3nstOK— Dr. Fahrettin Koca (@drfahrettinkoca) April 7, 2020
So far, a total of 1,582 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, while 1,474 patients are currently in intensive care, Koca said.
The recovery rate showed a significant rise, he added.Turkish Medical Association expects coronavirus pandemic to last for a total of 11 weeks from onset
Turkey also established Social Sciences Board to investigate and reduce sociological and psychological effects of the pandemic on society, Koca announced.
"We will follow the people who need to be isolated at home via digital means. We have also completed the preparations of a system that will let us warn the individuals immediately when necessary," he added.
He went on to say that the developed application will follow-up on the coronavirus cases. It will be able to monitor the isolation of cases, their follow-up at home, their mobility, and whether they are going out or not.
The new coronavirus also claims the lives of young people, Koca said, adding that age should not be perceived as an escape from the deadly virus.