KONYA, Turkey

A scientist couple in a central Turkish province is working hard round the clock to develop Turkey’s first mRNA vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Ibrahim Halil Yildirim from the Genetics Department of Dicle University in the Diyarbakir province and his wife Dr. Seval Cing from Biotechnology of Inonu University in the Malatya province, are currently working to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 at a Selcuk University lab in the central Konya province.

After the first cases of coronavirus were seen in Turkey, Yildirim and Cing joined a team led by Dr. Nadir Kocak of Selcuk University’s Medical Genetics Department to work on developing a vaccine, Yildirim told Anadolu Agency.

Yildirim said he goes home only one or two days a week, and other than that they are working at the lab, while his parents are also part of the COVID-19 vaccine research.

Cing also said their 11-year-old daughter Ayse Damla stays with her grandmother as they work at the lab.

“We are mostly in the lab. We only go home to eat something and to get sleep. My husband works very long shifts,” she added.

“Studies continue intensely in the lab. I’m going home late too. We don’t spend much time at home, and come to the lab also on weekends and holidays,” she explained.

She said her daughter loves painting and often leaves small notes with pictures for her parents and other members of the team.

“Our daughter Ayse knows this process well. She is aware that this project is an important one for both our country and the world,” she added.

“That’s why she shows us the support we need. She is upset that her painting materials are in Malatya, but we are trying to boost her morale up here.”

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