Turkey’s top medical association says ‘Turkovac’ insufficiently studied

Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Secretary General Vedat Bulut has said that the domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine Turkovac cannot qualify as a vaccine. Bulut said that the Health Ministry has not been conducting a "transparent" process with regards to trials of Turkovac.

Duvar English 

Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Secretary General Dr. Vedat Bulut has said that the ‘Turkovac’ vaccine, which the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TITCK) has approved, has been insufficiently researched and thus cannot qualify as an effective vaccine against Covid-19.

“The Ministry of Health has to be transparent and the research carried out regarding Turkovac needs to be published in scientific journals in order for expert organizations and pandemic working groups to review those studies and ratify it,” Bulut was quoted as saying by ANKA news agency on Jan. 6. 

"Because there is not a vaccine; there is instead a solution which is alleged to be a vaccine," he said. 

Vedat Bulut added that the studies regarding Turkovac should have been conducted on healthy volunteers, while this had not been the case. Instead, it had only been tested on animals.

He also contested the claims of Erciyes University Rector Dr. Mustafa Çalış who oversaw the development of the Turkovac vaccine and said “a study conducted on mice had shown that it was 100 percent effective against the Delta variant.”

“Studies on mice and human beings do not induce the same results,” Bulut warned. “The nine vaccines that have been approved studies have been carried out on 80,000 or 120,000 volunteers. But this has not been the case for Turkovac.”

TBB has submitted questions to the Ministry of Health asking under which conditions the TITCK had approved the Turkovac without scientific data. Vedat Bulut said the Ministry had failed to respond to their inquiries.

He added that a study had been conducted at Erciyes University comparing groups that had received the Sinovac and groups that had received the Turkovac, but that the results of those studies had only been partially and verbally released.

What is more, Vedat Bulut castigated the lack of transparency in Turkey’s vaccine policy.

“In the West, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provide emergency use approvals through independent scientific committees. In Turkey, however, vaccine production and procurement are carried by the government by force,” he said.