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Iran in second trial phase for bionational COVID-19 vaccine: Geneticist

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A bionational COVID-19 vaccine involving Iran is in its second trial phase, according to a geneticist.

A geneticist in charge of the Pasteur Institute of Iran says a binational project to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has entered its second trial phase.

Alireza Biglari said on Monday that the Pasteur Institute has been closely monitoring the trial being carried out in the partner country whose name has yet to be identified by Iranian authorities.

“The third clinical trial phase, which is the least risky phase, will be carried out in Iran as soon as we see the results of the second phase and are assured of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” said Biglari.

The announcement came hours after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that a jointly-developed COVID-19 vaccine would boost Iran’s efforts to ensure it would have abundant supplies of the vaccines as the country battles the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rouhani said, however, that his government would continue to support domestic initiatives to manufacture a vaccine, adding that foreign supplies would also be needed to launch a robust vaccination program in Iran.

It came a day after an Iranian company announced it would start mass production for a home-made COVID-19 vaccine within the next 40 days.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) also announced on Monday that it will soon take delivery of 150,000 doses of the vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

IRCS director Karim Hemmati said Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines had been purchased for shipping into Iran by charitable Iranians residing outside the country.

Hemmati said that the IRCS is also planning to import one million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from a country in East Asia.

The official said the vaccine planned for imports would gain the regulatory approval of Iran’s food and drug agency before it arrives in the country.

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