By Faranak Bakhtiari

Iran is unrivaled in Middle East for anti-corona measures: VP

April 11, 2020 - 18:54

TEHRAN – Sourena Sattari, Vice President for Science and Technology, has said that Iran’s technological measures in the fight against coronavirus is unrivaled among the Middle Eastern countries.

With the help of those who are involved in technology and innovation ecosystem projects, coronavirus medical equipment such as CT scan rooms, masks, all types of medicine and ventilators are being built in the country, he added.

Referring to Iran's position in the field of biotechnology, Sattari said that “Iran plays a leading role in the field of biotechnology in the region and the Middle East, and the production of 24 biotech drugs is evidence of this claim.”

“Knowledge-based companies can produce any medicine effective in countering coronavirus or approved by the scientific committee within a week to 10 days,” he noted.

Sattari made the remarks on the sidelines of a ceremony for launching the first production line of serology-based tests for COVID-19 in the city of Karaj on Saturday.

Serology testing for coronavirus better quantifies the number of infected cases, including those that may be asymptomatic or have recovered. Serology tests are blood-based tests that can be used to identify whether people have been exposed to a particular pathogen by looking at their immune response. 

These tests can give greater detail into the prevalence of a disease in a population by identifying individuals who have developed antibodies to the virus.

Therefore, these kits are used in policy-making by examining different communities and occupations, and these will help physicians and policymakers in the health system to implement smart social distancing more accurately.

Serology-based tests for COVID-19  are first used in some high-risk occupations, such as medical staff, which cannot employ the social distancing plan, then it will be tested on other parts of the society, Sattari stated.

He also said that the launch of the serology testing production line was one of the most important and successful measures in this field, adding that six knowledge-based companies are operating in this field which so far has received the necessary approvals and produce all kinds of diagnostic kits.

Sattari further explained that two types of diagnostic kits are now mass-produced by these knowledge-based companies, first one is the RT-PCR tests, 8 million of which are being produced per month; while the other is serology-based tests that a total of 400,000 are being manufactured monthly and is expected to reach up to 2 million.

The RT-PCR tests currently being used globally to diagnose cases of COVID-19 can only indicate the presence of viral material during infection and will not indicate if a person was infected and subsequently recovered, he said.

With the expansion of production lines and existing capacities, we will become one of the exporters in this field, he highlighted.

According to Sattari, each kit tests 96 people in 75 minutes, and in its kind, these kits are unique in the world.

In reply to a question by the TEHRAN TIMES reporter on how much the COVID-19 production brought the country currency saving, he said that it brought us a considerable currency saving, highlighting the potential for internalizing drugs effective in coronavirus treatment.

Explaining that there are no special restrictions for the production of medicine, he stated that “currently, 98 percent of the medicine are produced domestically.”

At present, 40 advanced ventilators are manufactured daily in the medical equipment sector, while many countries are dealing with the shortages, and the two manufacturers of these devices exported their equipment to Europe before the coronavirus crisis, he explained.

The total number of people diagnosed with the coronavirus in Iran reached 70,029 on saturday, of whom 4,357 have died and 41,947 recovered.

Meanwhile, 1,837 new patients have been identified over the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said.

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