Turkey to locally develop COVID-19 drug, President Erdoğan says


Turkey will locally develop and produce favipiravir, a drug used in COVID-19 treatment, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday.

Turkish scientists were able to synthesize the drug’s active ingredient and it will be available for coronavirus treatment after the registration process is completed, Erdoğan said after the first face-to-face Cabinet meeting in three months.

Based on the results of early trials, the Japanese-developed flu drug, favipiravir, (also known as Avigan) has been shown to be effective in both reducing the duration of the novel coronavirus in patients and improving the condition of their lungs, its main point of attack.

According to the Ministry of Health, favipiravir brought from China is being used under a unique protocol in Turkey. Unlike Chinese doctors, Turkish doctors have discovered that early intubation extends the length of the disease while giving high-flow oxygen leads to more successful and faster treatment.

Erdoğan also announced a further easing of several restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Marriage registration halls will reopen on June 15, followed by wedding halls on July 1. Meanwhile, businesses such as cinemas, theaters and exhibition centers will be allowed to reopen from July 1, under government-specified regulations.

Citizens above the age of 65 will be allowed outside between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day, while those under 18 will be able to go out anytime with their parents. People above 65 and minors were previously banned from leaving their homes, apart from certain days of the week.

Turkey launched its normalization process at the beginning of this month, gradually lifting a number of social restrictions.

Meanwhile, the country recorded 993 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths in the past 24 hours, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Tuesday.

With this latest update, the death toll in Turkey from the coronavirus pandemic rose to 4,729, while the total number of COVID-19 cases reached 172,114.