EghtesadOnline: The first batch of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V arrived in Iran on Thursday evening, as the country ramps up efforts to halt the spread of the pandemic.
“The first shipment of coronavirus vaccines was received at Imam Khomeini International Airport ... [which are] sufficient to vaccinate 10,000 people,” Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz, the head of Iran’s Food and Drug Administration, was quoted as saying by ISNA.
According to airport customs, four boxes of the vaccine containing 20,000 doses and weighing 640 kilograms were cleared within 10 minutes and delivered to Health Ministry officials.
“Next batches will soon be shipped. Our agreement with Russia involves a total of two million vaccine shots,” Shanehsaz announced.
According to international medical journal The Lancet, Sputnik V is 91.6% effective in preventing people from contracting the respiratory illness.
Iran’s health authorities have warned that a fourth wave of the disease is on the horizon, with Tehran, Hormozgan and Yazd provinces already reporting an uptrend in infections.
Phase two of human trials for Iran’s first experimental Covid-19 vaccine will begin by early March, a member of the team behind the vaccine’s development, Hamed Hosseini, told ISNA.
“All 50 volunteers who have received the injection are absolutely healthy and 21 have been injected a second time,” he said.
The vaccine, dubbed Cov Iran Barkat, is estimated to begin mass production in late spring.
Two other domestic vaccines have obtained regulatory approval to begin human testing in the near future. The government is also planning to import vaccines from China and India, jointly producing one with Cuba and purchasing at least 4.2 million doses through COVAX, a global initiative aimed at securing fair access to Covid-19 vaccines.
Iran recorded 7,060 newly-confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, a record high tally in the past 48 days, Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, said.
“Over the past 24 hours, Covid-19 claimed the lives of 80, taking the national death toll to 58,336,” the official said.
Data collected by the Health Ministry show that over the past 10 days, the virus has infected 257 and killed three to four patients every hour.
Lari pointed out that more than 1.24 million have recovered from Covid-19 so far and 3,800 are hospitalized in ICU units.
“Iran has administered 9.55 million diagnostic tests since the start of the outbreak,” she said.
Over 105.5 million worldwide have contracted the infectious disease that has killed at least 2.29 million people.