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Iran Press TV

Iran to double COVID-19 test capacity to 20,000 per day

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 01 April 2020 5:38 PM

A senior medical officer supervising the tests across the Iranian labs said on Wednesday that the number of tests will double in the coming days to help authorities better cope with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Alireza Beglari, who heads the Pasteur Institute of Iran (IPI), the flagship organization fighting infectious diseases in the country, also said that the number of labs carrying out tests for COVID-19 had increased to a total of 90.

The announcement comes as several Iranian biomedicine companies have obtained certificates from health authorities to produce COVID-19 testing kits on a commercial scale.

One of those companies said last week that is will supply 80,0000 testing kits to the labs each week.

Beglarei said that the IPI had certified more than five of those companies from a total of 50 that had responded to a government call for developing the test kits.

"We are self-sufficient from (companies) abroad," he said in a briefing with reporters in Tehran, adding that increased capacity for testing would strengthen government's screening programs for COVID-19.

Beglari also expressed hope that the IPI would develop therapeutics and a vaccine needed to make the population immune to the disease in a near future.

Iran has almost been on its own fighting the COVID-19 pandemic as sanctions imposed on the country by the United States have made it difficult for the government to take delivery from abroad of enough supplies of protective gear, drugs and medical equipment needed to contain the disease.

However, the spread of the virus in Iran, which began on February 19, triggered an unprecedented campaign for producing home-made equipment needed in the hospitals and care homes.

Representatives of the World Health Organization who visited the country in early weeks of the spread of the disease said they had been impressed to see how hospitals were using home-made equipment to provide care to the patients.

Iran's health ministry said on Wednesday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country had reached 47,593 of whom 15,437 had recovered and 3,036 patients had died of the illness.

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