The Turkish Health Ministry has filed an application with the Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency, seeking Emergency Use Authorisation for its domestically made Covid-19 vaccine, Turkovac. A team of Turkish researchers, in collaboration with the Presidency of Turkish Health Institutes and Kayseri Erciyes University, developed the vaccine, Reuters reported. On concluding the Phase I and Phase II trials, Phase III of the vaccine was launched in June this year. The vaccine is anticipated to be made available by this year end.

Researchers have identified a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant in South Africa and are analysing its possible implications, Reuters reported. The news agency quoted scientists as saying that the variant, known as B.1.1.529, contains a “very unusual constellation” of mutations. This is concerning as it could aid in evading the immune response of the body, making the variant highly infectious. The country has sought an urgent meeting with the World Health Organization virus evolution working group to address the novel variant.

The US has seen a near-record rise in Covid-19 booster vaccination rates after eligibility was extended to all adults, Reuters reported. Health officials expanded the programme to get more people vaccinated with booster shots before the winter holiday season, due to concerns about a rise in Covid-19 cases. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimates, nearly 37.5 million individuals were inoculated with a booster shot in the country as of 23 November. Earlier, the booster shot was indicated for use in individuals aged 65 years and above and for people at increased disease risk due to health conditions or exposure at work.