By Mohammad Mazhari

Kuwaiti physician calls Iranian coronavirus vaccine scientific breakthrough

June 30, 2021 - 17:15

TEHRAN - A Kuwaiti medical doctor praises Iran’s success in producing coronavirus vaccines, saying it marks one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in recent years.

“The achievement of Iran and Cuba in producing COVID vaccines, which are among the sanctioned countries by the United States and the West, is one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in recent years,” Issam al-Salih tells the Tehran Times.
“It is good news for the peoples of the region who were looking at the global scientific monopoly,” notes.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has received a dose of Iran’s first locally developed COVID-19 vaccine. How do you read this move?

A: Iran’s success to manufacture a COVID vaccine is a great scientific achievement for Iranians.

Despite economic, political and technological embargoes Iran is considered one of the eight countries that have developed infrastructure for this vaccine, which is a glimmer of hope for Muslims and West Asian citizens. It is an achievement we are proud of as people of the region, especially since Iran is a neighboring country to Kuwait and other Arab countries.

 It has had a great echo at the regional level, despite the attempts of the cynics to undervalue this wonderful achievement.

 This step sent a message to the world about Iranian achievements indicating the Supreme Leader’s complete confidence in the capabilities of Iranian young experts and scholars.

Q: How do you assess the moves by countries, especially countries like Iran and Cuba, that have tried to produce Covid-19 vaccines? Does the Third World need such efforts as long as the developed countries are far ahead in the field of medicine? 

A: The achievement of Iran and Cuba in producing COVID vaccines, which are among the countries under sanctions by the United States and the West, is one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in recent years.

It is good news for the people of the region who were looking at the global scientific monopoly.

Especially in the field of medicine and the technology of producing vaccines we are facing a monopoly by major international companies such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

There is no doubt that the national will is able to counter the Western embargo and generate the necessary drive towards independence and the pursuit of knowledge. The necessity is the mother of invention.

The blockade has contributed to preventing those two countries to access medicine and clinical and healthcare facilities. Unfortunately, the political differences have a big role in the lack of aid and medical supplies, even during the coronavirus pandemic.

I also followed the Iranian-Cuban alliance in the production of a joint vaccine, and it showed us the importance of solidarity, fighting despair, and trusting in national and local resources. These sciences are no longer in the monopoly of America and Europe, and those vaccines that are now in high demand globally will not be monopolized, when Iran and Cuba provide adequate amounts of vaccine for their people despite the sanctions.

There is no doubt that Iran will help peoples of neighboring countries, which are seeking to get rid of the pandemic. In my opinion, they are on the right path and history will record that.

I have heard about the Barekat vaccine from the Iranian company Shifa Pharmed Industrial Co, as I have learned about vaccines from other companies such as the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute.

There is another vaccine from a company affiliated with the Iranian Ministry of Defense, so I am happy to hear about these achievements, and this also comes by announcing the manufacturing of two vaccines, the Abdala vaccine and the Soberana02 vaccine.

It reminds us of their level of development, cooperation, and confidence in the local capabilities. Congratulations to them for this achievement, which indicates the failure of the sanctions and sieges.

Q: Why haven’t we seen an Arab initiative in the field of vaccine production despite capabilities in the Arab world?

A: Unfortunately, the governments of Arab countries and health leaders lack faith in the capabilities of their scientists and their scientific resources. It is really unfortunate that no real initiative has embraced these genius minds, and we in the Arab countries have a lot of capabilities, but there is no political and administrative will to adopt this. It is not acceptable that Cuba a small country located on an island in the Caribbean Gulf to be able to produce two different vaccines, while 22 Arab states failed to collaborate or join up to produce a common vaccine, for example.

Our health security should not be dependent on abroad. This is really saddening.

Q: What has the world learned from the Corona experience? What are its pros and cons?

A: The global Corona pandemic reminds us that the human being is still weak and exposed to the threat of pandemics, no matter how much we develop financially, and that the risk of epidemics exists if we do not join hands and work on steps to improve the health system.

We must investigate the causes leading to the spread of the coronavirus to ensure that it will not be repeated again, and be prepared to exchange industrial, medical and scientific experiences.

We also have to review what happened and cast light on the source of the pandemic. The best way to prevent its spread in the future is taking precautions as well as taking advantage of the experiences and capabilities to ensure the national health security of each country

The Corona crisis has affected jobs, social contacts, global trade, study, and travel procedures.

Q: What are the latest developments with regard to the coronavirus spread in Kuwait and the Persian Gulf countries?

A: Since late February 2020, Kuwait has been exposed to the corona and a partial and total ban has been implemented several times.

The Kuwaiti government has invested all the capabilities and potentials of the medical and administrative staff.

Currently, we are considered one of the countries that have succeeded in partially containing the pandemic when the problem was exacerbated in certain hotspots where people arrived from abroad, and then it moved to hotbeds among citizens who need to work and trade.

For this reason, airports, ports, and border points were opened, which caused the entry of some infected cases, including the Indian mutant Delta, which is one of the fast-spreading viruses and causing severe infection.

Some still do not believe in the procedures that are being taken by the Ministry of Health, however, the number of corona cases for weeks has ranged between 1500-1900 per day, and the death tolls are about 1920 only since the pandemic reached Kuwait.

However, campaigns have vaccinated approximately 66% of the population, with about 325,000 people infected. This is generally acceptable. 

Kuwait has imported Western vaccines including Oxford and Pfizer, and we hope to use other vaccines and platforms for those who wish, such as the Iranian, Chinese, and Russian vaccines, especially for those who believe in conspiracy theory and the insecurity of some vaccines, such as Oxford. Perhaps this increases their confidence.

First and foremost, the vaccine is a means to prevent the spread of the disease. In general, there is nothing wrong with how the government manages the pandemic, and we aspire for more realism and firmness, and in the end, we wish all humans safety and the end of this crisis forever.
 

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