Iran this week began human trials of the vaccine it developed itself, Iranian state television reports. Tehran is optimistic that it can contain the pandemic in the country, despite US sanctions preventing the country from importing enough vaccines.
The daughter of a high-ranking state official was the first to receive the Iranian corona vaccine COVIran Barekat on Tuesday. According to Iranian authorities, more than 65,000 Iranians volunteered to test the vaccine and 56 were chosen to participate in the first phase of the human trials. These are expected to last 45 to 60 days.
The vaccine is produced by Shifa Pharmed, a company partly owned by the Iranian state. However, the company has not yet released any research results or data on previous animal experiments. According to the Ministry of Health, the so-called COVIran vaccine is one of eight vaccine candidates and that animal testing of the remaining vaccines would be completed by February.
COVIran is a so-called inactivated vaccine, which means that it is made from a coronavirus that has been weakened or killed by chemicals. Especially in the past, vaccines were made with this technique, such as the vaccine against polio. Western vaccines, such as those from Pfizer and BioNTech, use mRNA technology. With an mRNA vaccine, you inject a piece of the genetic code of the coronavirus to make a harmless part of the virus protein. That code then makes the corona protein, which is unknown to us and therefore alarms the immune system.
Iran expects its vaccine to hit the market by the end of spring 2021. It is therefore almost involved. The country is the worst affected country in the Middle East. According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 1.2 million confirmed infections and almost 55,000 died from the virus.
Iran’s new President Hassan Rohani has already expressed his displeasure with the US sanctions, which came after the United States’ withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, because they prevent his country from purchasing vaccines. Food and medicine are exempt from the sanctions, but banks are reluctant to fund Iranian deals.
Tehran said last week that it had received approval from the United States to purchase coronavirus vaccines under the Covax program, a global group purchase led by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the goal of reaching 20 percent in each participating country by the end of next year. of the population.
Iran’s Red Crescent Movement, a sister organization of the Red Cross, has also announced that it planned to introduce a Chinese vaccine separate from the government.