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Iran Press TV

Iran-Cuba COVID vaccine may hit markets in April: Iran health official

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 21 February 2021 5:37 PM

A senior Iranian health ministry official says a nation-wide immunization program against coronavirus involving an Iranian-Cuban vaccine could be rolled out in April.

Iraj Harirchi said that the vaccine being developed in collaboration with Cuba could be the first among Iranian candidates to gain regulatory approval for public use.

"The Iran and Cuba joint vaccine will be available before all other vaccines and it is possible that it enters the roll-out phase before May," Harirchi told reporters after an event on Sunday.

Iran has three major vaccine candidates to tackle one of the largest outbreaks of the pandemic in the Middle East region. The country started vaccinating frontline health workers last month using jabs imported from Russia.

Iran's Pasteur Institute and Cuba's Finlay Vaccine Institute are planned to finish a third phase of human trials for Soberana 2, an advanced vaccine which will be tested on 50,000 Iranians, until late March. The Cuban side has committed to technology transfer and joint production of the vaccine in Iran.

Iran's other two vaccine candidates include Coviran Barekat, a jab that has yet to start its mass human trials, and the Razi Cov Pars, which is in its initial testing phases.

Iran has placed orders for more than 16 million doses of coronavirus vaccines under a world Health Organization scheme dubbed COVAX. The country will also use supplies of Chinese and Indian jabs to strengthen its inoculation program.

Heath Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari announced on Sunday that the number of COVID-19 cases in Iran had reached 1,574,012 with 7,931 new cases reported in the previous 24 hours.

She said 74 more patients had died of the virus since Saturday, bringing the total number of deaths to 59,483.

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