COVIran Barekat jab has shown to completely defuse the UK variant of the coronavirus in its human trials, officials say.
Tehran, Iran – Iranian health officials say the country’s best COVID-19 vaccine candidate works on the variant of the coronavirus first discovered in the UK.
Hassan Jalili, who oversees local vaccine production in Setad, a powerful state organization headed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, said on Saturday that testing of blood samples from volunteers who received two doses of VOC Iran Barekat yielded promising results.
“Tests have shown that the blood plasma of people who have been injected with the vaccine in human trials is able to completely defuse the mutated English corona virus.[virus],” he said.
Minoo Mohraz, a senior member of the National Coronavirus Task Force, also confirmed the news.
“The Department of Health gave a sample of the English mutated virus which has a 70% higher infection rate to researchers at Setad and blood plasma tests from the first three COV recipients Iran Barekat showed the virus to be completely defused, ”she said.
Earlier this week, Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki said the seventh case of the British variant had been identified in Iran in a passenger from the Netherlands.
Iran injected its first three recipients of the local vaccine on December 29, the first of which was the daughter of the leader of Setad and the other two senior leaders of Setad, in an effort to build confidence.
Since then, 32 more have received at least one injection of the two-dose vaccine and the original 56 candidates are on track to receive their first dose by the end of February.
Setad officials said they aim to produce one to two million doses of COVIran Barekat by the end of the current Iranian calendar year at the end of March and to increase production to more than 10 million. doses two months later.
Several other locally made vaccines are also in development and officials have said they have a chance of reaching human trials.
Iran is also looking for foreign vaccines in a number of ways to start vaccinating health workers and vulnerable groups before local vaccines are ready.
Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced during a diplomatic trip to Moscow that Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine had been approved for emergency use in Iran.
The first doses of the vaccine will be delivered next week, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali said on Saturday.
Iran is also trying to receive vaccines from COVAX, a World Health Organization initiative, and is negotiating with China and India for vaccines.
Khamenei banned vaccine imports from the US and UK earlier this month, saying, “I don’t trust them.”