The first phase in the human trial of the vaccine, dubbed Fakhra, was launched during a ceremony in Tehran on Tuesday, attended by Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami and Health Minister Saeid Namaki, Press TV reported.
Fakhra was named to commemorate Fakhrizadeh, who played a leading role in the vaccine project as the head of the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) prior to his assassination on November 27, 2020 near Tehran in a terrorist operation apparently linked to the Israeli regime.
The new Iranian COVID-19 vaccine was administered to Fakhrizadeh’s son.
The official in charge of the vaccine’s production said the research and development process began last March and involved cell culture, inoculation, proliferation, isolation and purification, and inactivation and formulation.
Later, he added, the vaccine was tested on more than 650 animals from different species of mice, rabbits, guinea pigs and monkeys.
The design and construction of a factory for the vaccine’s mass production has started, he said, expressing hope that it will enter the production phase in summer.
Speaking at Tuesday’s event, Namaki said in the spring, the Islamic Republic of Iran will become one of the most important and best vaccine manufacturers in the world.
He added that the Iran-Cuba COVID-19 vaccine is the first vaccine that will be mass produced, followed by the Coviran Barakat, Razi COV-Pars and Fakhra vaccines, respectively.
“Today is a day of pride and reliance on domestic knowledge. As an immunologist and the health minister, I testify that the method of producing vaccines in Iran is in accordance with the most scientific methods in the world…. The Fakhra vaccine’s tests on animal models have proven extremely effective and the human trials begin today,” Namaki said.
“I am proud to announce that the Islamic Republic, which has been under sanctions and subjected to oppression by those who deprived patients of medicine and lied, shines as one of the leading countries in the management of the coronavirus [pandemic] in the world,” he added.
In addition to developing domestic vaccines, Iran has imported reliable foreign vaccines.
So far, a total of 1,260,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been imported to the country from Russia, China, India and Cuba, according to Alireza Raeisi, the spokesman for the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus.
On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described as glorious successful measures taken so far in the country to develop homemade COVID-19 vaccines and purchase foreign jabs under the present tough circumstances, according to IRNA.
He made the remarks after receiving reports by related domestic organizations about the implemented measures to import safe and reliable vaccines from Russia, China and India, IRNA reported.
He stressed the necessity of continued follow-ups in this regard.
Appreciating efforts to this end by the Health Ministry, Foreign Ministry and, in particular, Iranian ambassadors to Russia, China and India, the president appreciated the Central Bank of Iran and the country’s Plan and Budget Organization for making available the foreign currency resources needed for purchasing the foreign vaccines.
He called on the health minister to provide, as in the past year, transparent and precise statistics and information on the number of the coronavirus infections and deaths in the country as well as methods to fight the virus and follow the same trend with regard to people’s vaccination.
Rouhani stressed that the country’s honorable people must be informed of the details of the nationwide vaccination process, which is a major move, urging for greater transparency in the process lest any doubt or ambiguity arises.
He added Iran has managed to put in a brilliant performance both in terms of developing homemade vaccines and purchasing foreign jabs while it has been in an enemy-imposed economic war and faced with a tough and breathtaking situation since a few years ago, which is a glorious achievement.
In May 2018, former US president, Donald Trump, pulled his country out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015, and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran in a bid to bring the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table and hammer out a new nuclear deal.
Mostly targeting Iran’s oil and banking sectors, the sanctions, being part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, failed to produce desired results thanks to the Iranian people’s maximum resistance.
In the aftermath of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran in late February, US sanctions, for a brief period, caused problems for the country in its fight against the coronavirus as they have hampered delivery of medical items and humanitarian aid to Tehran.
However, the Iranian government soon overcame the problems and, in addition to meeting domestic needs, became an exporter of medical supplies and personal protective equipment, such as face masks and disinfectants.