Iran's homemade Covid vaccine '90% effective'

Iran's homemade Covid vaccine '90% effective'
Iran's new Covid-19 vaccine is still in the human trials stage, but preliminary results offer hope.
2 min read
21 February, 2021
Thirty-five volunteers were tested with the vaccine [Getty]
Iran has achieved preliminary success in human trials of its new Covid-19 vaccine, boasting a 90 per cent effectiveness, local media reported on Sunday.

Clinical trials for COVIran Barekat looks optimistic, with immunogenicity tests on 35 volunteers who took part of the first phase of human trials showing results that exceeded expectations, lead Mohamad Reza Salehi told IRNA.

"Preliminary results show that about 90 percent of the people who received two doses of the vaccine exhibit evidence of immunity," he said.

Last month a health official announced that the Barekat vaccine was effective against the highly contagious Covid-19 variant first identified in the UK.

"Test conducted on the blood plasma of three volunteers of the 'COVIran Barekat' vaccine completely neutralised the mutated coronavirus," Hassan Jalili, head of the team that produced the local vaccine, told state TV at the time.

The vaccine - the first in the country to enter human trials – is produced by Shifa Pharmed, part of state-owned pharmaceutical conglomerate known as Barekat.

There are no details about its coronavirus research, results of animal trials or previous work on any vaccines since its founding in 1995.

The first individuals to be injected with the vaccine in late December were two executives of Setad, a foundation controlled by the officeof Iran's supreme leader that oversees Barekat.

Since then, 32 others have received one shot of the two-dose vaccine with all 56 of the initial candidates having received both doses.

The second phase is set to commence before 20 March.

"Most probably the second and third phases will be merged together and preliminary reports will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration half-way through this stage," Salehi said.

Race for vaccine

COVIran Barekat is one among several locally manufactured vaccines which officials say have a chance of reaching human trials.

Iran has touted its domestic vaccine development despite tough US sanctions that affect its ability to import vaccines.

It has also approved use of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

Iran's ambassador to Moscow said a contract for "the purchase and joint production" had been signed between the two countries. 

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has banned the use of vaccines made by the US and Britain, calling them "completely untrustworthy".

The Islamic republic is fighting the Middle East's deadliest outbreak of Covid-19 with more than 57,800 dead out of over 1.4 million cases.

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