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Iranian authorities have authorized the emergency use of its first local COVID-19 vaccine, COVIRAN Barekat, which has not yet completed the third phase of clinical trials, the Ministry of Health reported today.
Iranian Health Minister Said Namaki explained that permission has already been issued for this vaccine, doses of which will begin to be administered in the general vaccination campaign "starting next week."
According to Namaki, this step has been taken after the first and second phases of the clinical trials gave good results and after "a prudent time" has passed since the start of the third phase.
COVIRAN Barekat, of the inactivated virus type and developed by the state agency Execution of the Order of Imam Khomeini, began its phase 3 study on April 25 with 20,000 volunteers.
The researchers of this vaccine claim that it has few and mild side effects and works against the different variants of the new coronavirus. However, they have not disclosed its efficacy percentage.
With its use in general immunization, Iran intends to accelerate a slowly progressing campaign due to the shortage of vaccines received, mainly the Russian Sputnik V, the Chinese Sinopharm, and the British-Swedish AstraZeneca.
Iran has several vaccine candidates and, in addition to COVIRAN Barekat, two others are in the process of clinical trials, although less advanced: Razi Cov Pars and Fajra.
Iran has approved emergency use of Cuba’s Soberana-02 vaccine candidate, we still don’t know the efficacy though of the Cuban homegrown vaccines. https://t.co/tgTNbN7dHj
It is also cooperating with Havana in developing the Cuban candidate Soberana 02, whose phase 3 study is being carried out simultaneously in Cuba and Iran.
This candidate, called Pasteur in Iran, will also be authorized shortly for emergency use in vaccinating the population, the Iranian Health Minister said.
"Pasteur, which is one of the best vaccines with technology similar to that found in our country, will get the permission for emergency use early next week," Namaki said.
A total of 4,354,445 Iranians have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 850,000 the full course, out of a population of more than 80 million.
In the last 24 hours, 10,715 new infections were detected in the country, bringing the total number of cases to more than 3 million. Another 119 people died, bringing the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic 82,217.