Imports of COVID-19 test kits reduced to zero

April 21, 2021 - 18:5

TEHRAN – Imports of coronavirus detection kits have dropped to zero as some 24 knowledge-based companies are producing kits to meet the domestic needs, Sepideh Golbaz, an official with the Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday.

There are currently over 5 companies in the field of molecular detection kits, 9 companies in the field of rapid antigen test kits, and 10 companies in the field of RNA kits, she stated, IRNA reported.

She went on to say that knowledge-based companies from the beginning of the outbreak began their activities to develop test kits, and fortunately today the country has no need to import this strategic product.

Not only has it fully met the country's needs, but it has also the capacity to be exported, she noted, adding, serology kits are currently being exported. 

The price of each rapid antigen kit is $3, and according to the Ministry of Health, 50,000 to 70,000 tests are performed daily in the country, and the monthly cost of diagnostic kits is estimated at four to six million euros, which caused a considerable currency saving, she explained.

Golbaz stated that we have not imported any rapid tests. With the efforts of experts and related bodies, the raw materials were provided on time, and domestic production started in the country.


With the outbreak of coronavirus, Iran surged its production to meet the country’s need for self-protective equipment along with medical and pharmaceutical items to fight against the virus, at a time when other developed countries were struggling with a severe lack of personal protective tools.

Iran is one of the top five manufacturers of coronavirus antigen-based rapid detection kits in the world; as homegrown antibody rapid test, which can detect coronavirus in 15 to 20 minutes, was unveiled in Tehran on November 17, 2020.

Sourena Sattari, vice president for science and technology, told the Tehran Times in September 2020 that some of the knowledge-based companies reached a production capacity of more than 200-300 thousand diagnostic kits per day, which surpassed the country’s need for diagnostic kits, and there is a great export potential.

Pointing out that multiplying the production of COVID-19 equipment led to significant measures that led to foreign currency saving for the country, he said “it also helped us cope with problems and not to run out of equipment because no matter how much money we gave, no country had the equipment to sell.”

He also announced that two types of diagnostic kits are now mass-produced by 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.

At present, 40 advanced ventilators are manufactured daily in the medical equipment sector, he explained.

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.

Mehdi Kashmiri, director for technology and planning at the science ministry, said in July that about 450 knowledge-based companies were active in the country for manufacturing protective equipment and treatment products to fight the coronavirus.

Production of more than one million face masks per day, production of more than 1.5 liters of disinfectants per day, diagnostic kits, non-contact thermometers, protective clothing, ventilator are among the produces manufactured by these companies, he added.

Iranian-made innovative products in the field of diagnosis, screening, and fighting coronavirus were also unveiled to combat the disease, namely, ozone generator, nanotechnology face shields, disinfection gate, and molecular COVID-19 diagnostic kits.


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