‘Iran, Russia have high potential for medical co-op’

February 7, 2021 - 17:13

TEHRAN – Iran and Russia have high potential for cooperation in the field of medicine and vaccines, Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz, head of the Iranian Food and Drug Administration, has said.

Heading a delegation, Shanehsaz traveled to Moscow on Sunday to finalize a joint cooperation agreement for the production of the coronavirus vaccine after talks with Russian officials.

Negotiations for a purchase agreement and joint cooperation for the production of Sputnik V vaccine with Russia have been underway for several months, he said, adding that during the trip, an agreement will be signed between the two countries.

“With the efforts made, we are going to turn the potential and mutual capacities into actual cooperation,” Shanesaz highlighted.

“Iran has high capacity in vaccine production, with Russia’s knowledge, can strengthen pharmaceutical technology as well as export,” he noted.

He said that 98 percent of the country's pharmaceutical needs are met domestically, adding that by activating the private sector, we are trying to meet the full pharmaceutical needs of the country.

The first consignment of Sputnik V, the Russian-made vaccine for the coronavirus, was imported on Thursday.

Mass vaccination against COVID-19 will begin this week, with the priority given to medical staff, the elderly, and people with underlying diseases, President Hassan Rouhani announced on Saturday.

Importing vaccine from COVAX, a global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, is also on the agenda, Shanehsaz said.

On January 27, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that there are four different ways to supply the coronavirus vaccine, including direct purchase from a foreign country, procurement from the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility, a joint production with a Cuban company as well as domestic production of the vaccine.

He emphasized that Iran will soon be one of the world’s important manufacturers of the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVIRAN BAREKAT, the first coronavirus vaccine made by Iranian researchers of the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam, was unveiled and injected into three volunteers during a ceremony on December 29, 2020.

Meanwhile, Iran and Cuba have formed a ‘strategic alliance’ through working jointly on a project for producing a potential coronavirus vaccine.