Iran detected the seventh patient in the country infected with UK coronavirus variant on Tuesday, said the health minister.
Speaking on Wednesday, Saeed Namaki added the patient, who has recently traveled to Iran from the Netherlands, is currently based in a southern province, IRNA reported.
The minister said that none of the patient’s relatives has been infected with the new COVID-19 strain.
“Although in the beginning, the UK said the new mutated strain is only more transmissible and we said the claim was not valid, at present, it has been proven that the British variant is far deadlier and more pathogenic than what was said.”
“This give us the warning that the country’s people must be very cognizant, as, despite all the efforts we make, we do not know through which crevice the new strain of the virus would enter the country. If the people do not observe social distancing rules and fail to limit their inter-city and intra-city travel, we will certainly suffer considerable losses from the virus,” he warned.
“We are registering orders to purchase COVID-19 vaccines from four different sources: A European one, a Chinese source, a Russian producer and two Indian firms. In addition to our COVAX share, comprising vaccines developed by European and Asian companies, we hope to soon import the first batch of vaccines to give the jabs to the vulnerable and high-risk groups in the country.”
The vaccine, he added, which is being jointly developed by the Pasteur Institute of Iran and Cuba has produced favorable results. “The other three Iranian vaccine developers are also progressing well.”
On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the country has approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and plans to both import and produce it, according to Tasnim News Agency.
Speaking at a press conference after talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, Zarif said, “We can confirm that the Sputnik V vaccine was registered in Iran yesterday. It was approved by our healthcare authorities and we hope to be able to purchase the vaccine soon and begin its joint production in cooperation with the institutes in Russia and Iran.”
Also Mohammad Mokhber, the chairman of the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), has said the results of the first phase of the human trial of the Iranian coronavirus vaccine have been satisfactory as no side effects have been reported so far.
Mokhber added Iran will produce two to three million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the current calendar year (March 20, 2021), IRNA reported.
He said that the first phase of the human trial of the vaccine, which involved giving the jab to 21 volunteers, is about to be completed.
The vaccine will be available to the public next year, Mokhber said.
The EIKO head gave the assurance that compared to its foreign counterparts, the Iranian vaccine will be given to people at a lower price and will be more effective, of higher quality and more abundant, adding Iran will soon become self-sufficient in this field.
“Starting mass production of the vaccine is our main challenge at present.”
On Wednesday, the Iranian Health Ministry announced that 6,608 new coronavirus cases were detected in the country over the past 24 hours.
Speaking at a daily press conference, the Health Ministry spokeswoman, Sima Sadat-Lari, said the total number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Iran surpassed 1,392,000.
Of the new cases detected since yesterday, only 695 patients have been admitted to hospitals across the country, she added. “At least 1,183,463 patients have either recovered from the disease or been discharged from hospitals across Iran so far.”
She put the death toll from COVID-19 in Iran at 57,651, saying the disease has taken the lives of 91 patients over the past 24 hours. “Among those currently undergoing treatment in the country’s medical centers, 4,024 patients are in critical conditions.”
Lari also said more than 9,070,000 coronavirus diagnostic tests have so far been carried out in Iran.
The number of the people infected with the coronavirus across the world has surpassed 100 million and the death toll has exceeded 2.16 million.