Iran awards contracts to 6 domestic firms for coronavirus test kits: Official
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 17 March 2020 1:33 PM
Iran is ramping up production for various items needed to fight coronavirus as the government awards contracts to six biopharmaceutical companies for making highly-needed testing kits.
A senior deputy to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that mass supply of coronavirus test kits will begin by several Iranian companies in the upcoming days.
Sorena Sattari said on his Instagram page that three Iranian companies had already obtained certificates needed for mass production of coronavirus test kits.
The official, who heads a presidency department on sciences and technology, said that the coronavirus outbreak in Iran has created an opportunity for a rapid boom in an Iranian biotechnology sector that is one of the fastest-growing in the Asia region.
"These companies are producing some of the most complicated homemade drugs for fighting this (coronavirus) disease," said Sattari, who also said that pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies were working round the clock to supply items needed in hospitals for treating coronavirus patients.
He said that domestic production of ventilators, machines needed to treat patients suffering from respiratory problems as a result of coronavirus, had reached 30 units per day.
A delegation of World Health Organization (WHO) that visited Iran earlier this month to monitor efforts for combating coronavirus was impressed with the level of domestic capability to supply hospitals and health centers with devices needed to treat the patients.
Dr. Rick Brennan, WHO's regional emergency director, told Reuters news agency on Monday that he had visited new health facilities in Iran with dozens of beds where everything from the bed sheets, to the oxygen masks had been made locally.
"There's a great commitment and they are taking it seriously from the highest level of government," said Brennan, who also acknowledged that the Iranians were "rapidly increasing their ability to test" coronavirus patients.
A total of 16,169 people have tested positive for cronavirus in Iran since the outbreak started in the country on February 19. Some 5,389 have recovered from the illness while 988 patients have died, according to an update provided by the Iranian health ministry on Tuesday.
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