By Ali Murat Alhas
ANKARA (AA) - A Turkish virologist has successfully isolated SARS-COV-2, the novel coronavirus, in a bid to produce a vaccine against the deadly disease it causes which has claimed almost 68,000 lives across the globe.
"Our university's Biotechnology Institute Director Prof. Dr. Aykut Ozkul succeeded in isolating the SARS-COV-2 virus, which is the first step of producing serum, vaccine, and medication against the coronavirus!" Ankara University said in a Twitter post.
Mustafa Varank, Turkey's industry and technology minister, informed the public during the week that a total of 24 universities, eight public research and development units with hundreds of researchers have been working to produce a vaccine against COVID-19.
On Sunday, Turkey announced the country's virus death toll climbed to 574 with 73 new deaths, whereas confirmed cases surged to over 27,000.
After originating in China last December, COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has spread to at least 183 countries and regions across the world, with its epicenter shifting to Europe.
The pandemic has killed 68,000 people, and infected over 1.2 million, while nearly 258,400 people recovered from the disease, according to figures collated by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.