Researchers in an Iranian medical school have developed a first home-grown test kit for detecting the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Dean of Kashan University of Medical Sciences (KAUMS) Alireza Moraveji said on Tuesday that the new test kit is able to identify various variants of coronavirus including the newly-detected Omicron variant.
Moraveji said the diagnostic tool has been developed in KAUMS’ Laboratory for Molecular Biomarkers by Majid Lotfinia, a professor teaching at the university.
He said research on the new kit had taken a year, saying KAUMS had provided finances needed to finish the project.
“Some 20 foreign companies have developed such diagnostic kit and the kit developed by experts at KAUMS can compete with foreign brands although its manufacturing cost is around one-fifth,” said the official.
Lack of test kits to detect Omicron had sparked criticism in the Iranian media last month when the variant was spreading fast around the world.
Iran has relied on home-grown resources for a bulk of its efforts to battle the coronavirus since the disease started to spread in the country in February 2020.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged the success of those efforts at a time the country has been facing restrictions on supply of drugs and medical equipment from abroad because of US sanctions.
Iranian health ministry authorities said on Monday that they would rely more on supplies of home-made coronavirus vaccines in the upcoming months amid a ramp-up in domestic manufacturing of those shots.
Coronavirus has infected over six million people in Iran over the past two years.