By Faranak Bakhtiari

Iran among pioneers in COVID-19 vaccine development

April 25, 2021 - 16:20

TEHRAN – Iran is among the first countries which started developing a vaccine against coronavirus, and now four companies are endeavoring to release their products by September and inoculate the whole population.

Out of 16 vaccine production cases, four cases received a code of ethics and are undergoing clinical trial; it is hoped that another three to four cases will succeed in receiving license by September.

COVIRAN BAREKAT, the first coronavirus vaccine made by Iranian researchers, started the third phase of the human trial by being administrated to 20,000 people.

Developed by researchers at the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam, the vaccine was unveiled on December 29, 2020, and started to be mass-produced on March 29.

The line will produce three million doses a month, a capacity that is expected to be boosted to up to 15 million doses per month by the end of the spring (June 20).

Today, we officially begin the third phase of the human trial, which will study the results on a population of 20,000 in six cities across the country, Hamed Hosseini, director of clinical studies of COVIRAN Vaccine said on Sunday.

He went on to say that 11,500 people from Tehran and Karaj and the rest from four cities of Bushehr, Isfahan, Mashhad, and Shiraz will be vaccinated under phase three studies.

Necessary plans are being made for the third phase of human testing to be carried out independently in some neighboring countries, Mohammad Reza Salehi, a member of clinical studies of COVIRAN Vaccine said.

The BAREKAT vaccine, which health officials have said is 90-percent effective according to preliminary results, will be injected into some patients with underlying diseases to prove its safety.

Meanwhile, a vaccine developed by the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute (Razi Cov Pars) is expected to become the second Iranian-made vaccine to be administered among the population in early August; which started the clinical trial on February 27.

Iran has also started human trials of Fakhra vaccine, the third domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine, named after nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (he was assassinated in late November near Tehran), that was unveiled and started the clinical trial on March 16.

“Osvid-19”, the fourth domestic vaccine produced by Osvah Pharmaceutical Company is also undergoing human trials, which will also be available in early September.

Three joint-produced vaccines

Iran is currently producing vaccines jointly with three countries of Cuba, Russia, and Australia.

One of the vaccines is the Cuban-Iranian Soberana-02 vaccine, and the other is the Russian-Iranian Gamaleya vaccine, while the third joint vaccine will be produced in Iran in cooperation with Australia, which is scheduled to enter the market by September.

Mass-vaccination begins

While Iran continues efforts to mass-produce local candidates, several foreign vaccines have already been imported and others are expected soon.

Mass vaccination against COVID-19 started on Iranian citizens with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine on February 9.

So far, 718,510 doses of coronavirus vaccine, including the first and second doses, have been injected in the country.

Alireza Raeisi, a spokesman for the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control, announced on Thursday that the sixth batch of the “Sputnik V” vaccine, including over 100,000 doses, has been sent to the country.

Of the total vaccines imported so far, we have received about 420,000 doses of Sputnik V, some 650,000 doses from China, and 125,000 from India. We also received 700,000 doses of Astrazeneca vaccine from South Korea, so that a total of 1.895 million doses of vaccine have been provided to the Ministry of Health, he explained.


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