A group of researchers from Istanbul’s Sabancı University revealed that the first COVID-19 sample in Turkey arrived from the United States and that it arrived earlier than the Health Ministry announced it.
In a phylogenetic analysis of the first 30 reported COVID-19 cases in Turkey, Sabancı researchers tracked the first three COVID-19 cases in Turkey to the United States, Europe and Australia, in order of arrival.
Meanwhile, a specific type of genome in Turkey’s first COVID-19 cases was indicatory that the virus had arrived in the country before the announced March 11 date.
Aside from this particular genome, 29 of the first 30 cases in Turkey were traced back to the same “family” of viruses.
While the German public-private collaboration Global Initiative for Sharing All Influenza Data’s database was used in the research, the database pointed to 63 different strains of genomes in Turkey.
Based on genome strains, the researchers concluded that most cases in Turkey had been spread from Ankara.