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Iran has identified a novel coronavirus vaccine candidate and would soon start clinical human trials, Minister of Health Saeed Namaki has announced.

“Iran has made great strides in producing the COVID-19 vaccine and the human trial phase of the vaccine will soon begin,” the Iranian Minister of Health and Medical Education said in remarks on Tuesday at the opening of the 2020 edition of Pharmex Middle East, a pharmaceutical exhibition held in Iran.

The minister said he has been closely monitoring the activities and research programs of the Iranian scientists to produce the coronavirus vaccine over the past four months, saying the results are “very promising”.

The vaccine has been tested on animals successfully, Namaki noted, adding that the clinical human trials will start very soon.

The minister also highlighted the country’s considerable progress in the pharmaceutical industry, saying Iran is now one of the most powerful countries in the region in producing pharmaceutical precursor chemicals and medicines.

“Thanks to the efforts by the scientists and knowledge-based companies, Iran is today one of the major exporters of pharmaceutical raw materials, both in the field of chemical medicine and high-tech medicine,” Namaki stated.

The minister finally noted that amid the coronavirus pandemic, Iran could change from an importer of medical and protective equipment to a major exporter of those items within only 60 days.

In March, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had called for all-out efforts to develop a vaccine and medication for the novel coronavirus.

Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari said in April that three domestic teams were working separately on research into a coronavirus vaccine.

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