The phase two trials of the Turkish-made COVID-19 vaccine will begin on Dec. 25, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on late Saturday.

“In parallel with the world, 16 different vaccine studies are carried out in our country. One of them has completed the pre-clinical period and started human trials. Phase two study will begin on Dec. 25,” he told the lawmakers during the 2021 budget debate in parliament.

Koca said that the vaccine’s production for phase two started on Wednesday.

Apart from our vaccination studies, we are also to access safe and efficient vaccines made elsewhere in the world, he said.

“I hope we will make our domestic COVID-19 vaccine by April,” he said.

The ERUCOV-VAC vaccine is being developed at the Erciyes University in the central Kayseri province with support from Turkey’s Institutes of Health Administration (TUSEB).

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 1.6 million lives in 191 countries and regions, since its outbreak last year in December.

More than 71.24 million cases have been reported worldwide, with over 46.68 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

While the US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of the number of cases, Europe is in the grip of a devastating second wave of infections.

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