Iran’s Shifa Pharmed Industrial Group has announced the success of its Omicron-targeted vaccine in animal studies, saying the vaccine showed 100% effectiveness against the highly contagious COVID-19 variant.
In a statement, Shifa Pharmed Industrial Group, which produced the homegrown COVIran Barekat vaccine against the coronavirus, said it began to develop a new vaccine targeting the Omicron variant soon after the first case of infection with the variant was reported in the country.
“Preliminary results of studies on this updated vaccine indicate 100% effectiveness against the Omicron variant by this new and safe vaccine in animal studies,” the statement read.
Shifa Pharmed pointed to the spread of the variant at an unprecedented rate, saying the company has already begun the mass production of its Omicron-targeted vaccine.
It added that it has also presented the protocol for conducting the clinical trial of the vaccine to Iran’s Food and Drug Administration and the Medical Ethics Committee to obtain the necessary permits.
Iran has so far administered more than 138 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, fully vaccinating nearly 54 million people, including 21 million who have received three shots. The vaccines have been either domestically produced or imported from other countries.
The country has been fighting one of the deadliest coronavirus outbreaks since the virus emerged in the country in early 2020. So far, over 6,876,000 people have tested positive for the highly infectious disease in Iran, with 134,238 deaths reported as of Wednesday.
Late last month, Iran’s Health Minister Bahram Einollahi announced the start of a new wave of the coronavirus outbreak in the country as hospitals reported a growing number of referrals with infections related to the Omicron variant.
“Unfortunately, we should declare that we have practically stepped into the sixth wave with the rise in hospitalization and outpatient cases,” Einollahi wrote on Twitter on January 27.
New cases and deaths have increased since then. On Wednesday, 16,310 new infections were recorded and 185 people lost their lives.