Tech Complex to Bolster Battle Against COVID-19
EghtesadOnline: The International Innovation and Technology Complex has been inaugurated in Tehran in line with measures to strengthen the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus.
On Saturday, Sorena Sattari, the vice president for science and technology, officially launched the complex and visited an exhibition held on the sidelines where six high-tech medical products were unveiled, the office’s website Isti.ir reported.
The complex had been working for a while before its launch was officially announced, according to Financial Tribune.
At the inaugural event, Sattari said, “The shrinking number of new COVID-19 cases shows that Iran’s technology ecosystem has done an acceptable job in the mass production of medical protective items.”
The vice president noted that the round-the-clock endeavors of the medical staff are paying off with the help of locally-made equipment.
Sattari announced that the new complex is planned to be a hub of medical technology, help ward off COVID-19 and empower the country’s health sector.
“Currently, two accelerators in the fields of pharmacology and nutrition have already settled in the complex. Eight more specialized in medicine, beauty and health, biotechnology and digital health will also join them soon, creating a strong team of supporters for the startups and tech teams,” he said.
During a tour of the exhibition, the official passed through a sanitizing gate as a test run. Besides spraying disinfectants all over the body, the gate is capable of monitoring body temperature and detecting the concentration of oxygen in blood via smart equipment.
An ozone generator was the other localized product featured at the exhibition. The device is an air deodorizer, sterilizer and purifier that produces O3 molecules to react with and remove airborne particles, chemicals, mold, viruses, bacteria and odors.
The generators can be an alternative to medical autoclaves, devices that use steam to sterilize equipment and other objects.
A nanotechnology face shield and three different coronavirus test kits were also among the items unveiled at the event.
Iranian knowledge-based companies and tech firms are expected to produce healthcare equipment and technologies that enable people to remain safe from microorganisms and diseases.
Last week in a statement, Sattari elaborated on the latest achievements of knowledge-based companies and startups working in different medical fields.
He said several studies have been conducted on the nature of COVID-19 in collaboration with the academia and tech firms to help develop health protective products.
“Fortunately, these endeavors have paid off, as different types of coronavirus test kits, which work with blood samples and saliva, have been successfully mass-produced by domestic tech firms. This can help test several million people per week,” he said.
Sattari noted that hospitals are not facing any shortage of devices, including CT Scan devices, ventilators, ICU and surgery room equipment, oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines.
“Surgical and N95 facemasks are being produced in the country and soon 40 new production lines will be added to the current capacity,” he said.
The official said the government’s huge investment in the development of knowledge-based companies has paid off, as tech-based businesses are contributing considerably to the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite their diligent efforts to help buttress the fight against the coronavirus, startups, tech firm and knowledge-based companies have been severely hit by the negative effects of the outbreak.
As a result, Iranian authorities are increasing support to help restore their businesses.
In mid-March, the government-backed Iran National Innovation Fund announced that it is planning to pay 50 trillion rials ($312.5 million) in loans to knowledge-based companies and tech firms to boost their operations.
With the COVID-19 outbreak distorting the Iranian startup ecosystem’s prospects, the state fund has extended an aid package to the sector.
According to INIF chief, Ali Vahdat, some 200 firms expressed interest in receiving the fund, although the most eligible will be selected.
“The move is aimed at increasing the production of health protective items needed during the pandemic, including facemasks, hand sanitizers, alcohol-based disinfectants and medical air disinfectant machines, along with antibacterial fabrics and covers for hospital use,” he said.
To receive the loan and start production, the applicant knowledge-based company should be certified by all the institutions involved, including Iran’s Food and Drug Administration and Health Ministry.
Vahdat noted that the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology and Iran Nanotechnology Innovation Council have agreed to scrutinize the credentials of applicants and introduce the final list of eligible firms.
Referring to the spread of novel coronavirus in the country, Vahdat said the pandemic cannot be controlled without utilizing the potentials of the domestic tech ecosystem.
“The country’s knowledge-based economy, which has currently grown significantly, is being helped by young entrepreneurs and tech teams to withstand the negative effects of the disease,” he added.
The coronavirus has so far infected 2,333,224 people around the world, claiming the lives of 160,818. The number of recovered cases has reached 600,315, according to Reuters reporting on Saturday.
Iran reported the virus outbreak in mid-February, which has so far taken the lives of 5,031 people out of a total of 80,868 infected people.
According to Iran’s Health Ministry, 55,987 patients have so far recovered from the disease.