COVID-19 Vaccine Latest Achievements: Number 4 Iran

Saturday, June 13, 2020 - 12:44

Researchers worldwide are working around the clock to find a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to an ISCA report, on 19 February 2020, the first official announcement of death from 2019-Nov was made in Iran, therefore, there is a matter of urgency combating this new virus and stopping the epidemic.

On March 1, 2020, Baqiyatallah Medical Sciences University (BMSU) announced that they are developing drugs and a vaccine for Covid-19. Three research groups in BMSU were working on treatments for Covid-19, one of the teams had already come up with a drug that could be used to cure the illness and one of the drugs has passed laboratory tests.

Iranian researchers in BMSU also were working on a human genetic material Covid-19 vaccine. They hope that the human genetic material Covid-19 vaccine would be developed within less than 12 months to help all of the world countries to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 infection, according to a report published in Springer.

On March 10, Secretary of biotechnology development of Vice Presidency for Science and Technology has announced that Iran-made COVID-19 diagnostic kits will be commercialized by the Iranian calendar month of Farvardin (March 21-April 22).

According to an ISCA report, Mostafa Qane’ei declared that diagnosis is the most important part of coronavirus treatment, therefore, a contract was signed with five knowledge-based companies and manufacturing process began.

On April 21st, Iranian knowledge-based companies have forged six research and development agreements with academic and research centers, as well as the vice presidential office, to work on possible COVID-19 vaccines, Financial Tribune reported.

The vice president for science and technology said that Iranian technology ecosystem has moved to the frontier of those combating the novel coronavirus, by working on treatment and vaccination

Sorena Sattari explained that over 76 treatment projects have been devised by Iranian medical specialists and researchers, the efficiency of which are currently being examined in laboratories.

“Fortunately, these endeavors have paid off, as different types of coronavirus test kits, which work with blood samples and saliva, have been successfully mass-produced by domestic tech firms. This can help test several million people per week,” he said.

Joining the move, Tehran University of Medical Sciences is to offer financial support to anti-coronavirus projects developed by researchers and tech teams at the university.

Mohammad Reza Monazzam, an official with the university, said, “The number of approved medical and technological plans has reached 300. The university is to offer grants of 500 million rials [$3,125] to the plan developers to help them produce what they have designed.”

Besides the university, in mid-March, the government-backed Iran National Innovation Fund announced that it is planning to pay 50 trillion rials ($312.5 million) in loans to knowledge-based companies and tech firms to boost their operations.

Also, amid the spread of the Coronavirus in Iran since there was no virology laboratory in the country, Royan Genetics Institute has changed its activity to diagnose COVID-19 tests.

Mehdi Toutounchi, member of the scientific committee and the head of the Royan virology laboratory stated that, " a voluntary team was formed and this laboratory set up to provide services for hospitals and research centers in Tehran, but we have no limitation in receiving samples from other provinces," FNA reports.

On April 15, several hospitals in Iran have implemented a plasma therapy project to treat patients infected with COVID-19. Convalescent plasma therapy allows someone who has recovered from a coronavirus infection to donate their blood plasma to someone who is in critical condition.

Plasma therapy could reduce coronavirus deaths in Iran by 40 percent as experts in the country have discovered a life-saving method for those recovering from COVID-19. Convalescent plasma therapy allows someone who has recovered from a coronavirus infection to donate their blood plasma to someone who is critically ill.

On April 30, in an interview with Fars New Agency, Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari has weighed in on the achievements of local knowledge-based companies in fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

On May 2nd, Deputy Health minister Reza Malekzadeh has announced that Iran ranks third in terms of scientific findings on coronavirus in the world by conducting over 1,200 projects related to coronavirus. Since coronavirus outbreak, all researchers joined hands to conduct a very significant research activity, so that, 1,200 research projects have been underway over the past month and a half.

An Iranian researcher of the Carbon Laboratory at the Faculty of Physics of Alzahra University have succeeded in designing and creating an air purification system due to photocatalytic titanium dioxide nanoparticles, May 5, 2020.

According to an ISCA report, as doctors and medical experts continue to try and find a vaccine for COVID-19, Dr. Azizollah Shafikhani could create an antibacterial and environmental antivirus air purification system that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to COVID-19.

Iran exported over 40000 serological kits to diagnose COVID-19 to Germany on May 6. According to an ISCA report, an Iranian knowledge-based company succeeded in the mass-production of serological kits to diagnose COVID-19, "The shipment has consisted of 40,000 coronavirus detection kits," said Brhrooz Hajian Tehrani, project manager and CEO of the company.

Referring to the company's background of producing tumor marker test kits, infectious and hormonal diseases and more than five types of biochemical kits, he said that the company has exported its products to many countries such as Germany, Italy, Belgium, Brazil, South Korea, and Turkey so far.

Islamic Republic of Iran also export COVID-19 serology kits to neighboring Turkey. Accordingly, Islamic Republic of Iran could produce a high-tech product using its experts and talents in the shortest time possible which observe requirements of international and European standard rules and regulations.

On May 19, Iran gained remarkable achievements in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which can be shared with other Islamic countries.

In this regard, Mohammad-Mehdi Jafari, the executive secretary of a seventh meeting of Science and Technology Exchange Program (STEP), noted that Iran can make use of the experiences and achievements of other Islamic countries in the battle against the new pandemic.

He noted that Knowledge-based firms have, so far, signed contracts for the production of 6 types of vaccines. By the end of this year, 5 human vaccines will be added to the country’s drug production cycle. This is the first time that Iran’s private sector has stepped into the domain of vaccine production.

“We have several kits in the domain of coronavirus diagnosis. The kits have been domestically developed and are approved. A letter has been sent to the health minister and we have received the permit to export kits. It’s been weeks that serology kits have been mass-produced and are being used by different centers. We produce enough kits to meet the health ministry’s demand,” he added.

Among other measures adopted is a development in the domain of artificial intelligence. Sharif University of Technology has developed a method whereby it can analyze CT scan images to tell, with 97 to 99 percent accuracy, if a person has contracted the coronavirus.

“There are two knowledge-based companies in Iran which make this apparatus and have even exported ventilators to Britain and Sweden, and also meet the country’s demand for the product,” he noted.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, a scientific committee was set up at the National Coronavirus Headquarters. It should also be mentioned that individuals themselves contributed heavily to the activities of knowledge-based companies.

May 26, WHO Representative in Iran, Dr. Christoph Hamelmann, said in an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times that Iran is benefiting from strengths in fighting against the coronavirus epidemic, including strong primary health care system, production surge in a reasonable time, and multisectoral response.

So, one of the very important early achievements in Iran was the rapid establishment of a decentralized laboratory testing for Covid-19,” he explained.

On the other hand, Iran, to a certain degree, is a good experience to learn from by other countries due to the strong primary health care system, which focuses on promoting healthcare in rural areas, he added.

Hamelmann further emphasized that Iran was one of the few countries in the world which developed test kits as soon as possible despite problems such as licensing and evaluation. The government also had a really strong focus on increasing production and innovation.

Iran has established a national electronic health record (EHR) system in which every citizen is registered with the national ID number, he highlighted.

The health networks started early detection of infected cases by calling the citizens and questioning them about the symptoms, and the vast majority of community members with a focus on the most vulnerable were screened and prevented from referring to the hospital in cities, he added.

On June 1, Mostafa Qanei, the secretary of the Biotechnology Development Committee of the Science and Technology Department of the Presidential Office declared that “These days, a lot of news is heard from the four corners of the world about achievements gained in the domain of coronavirus vaccine production.”

On June 6, Iranian researchers of a knowledge-based company, Shareh Faraz Paydar (SFP), based in Amirkabir University of Technology Science and Technology Park, have succeeded in producing Air Ozonizer Machine to disinfect various places.

SFP researchers could developed an ‘Air Ozonizer Machine’ which can be applied to disinfect hospitals, organizations, meeting and conference room, parliament, banks, homes, offices, hotels, public places, trains and passenger terminals.

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