Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari has, in an interview with Fars New Agency (FNA), weighed in on the achievements of local knowledge-based companies in fighting the coronavirus outbreak. The highlights of the interview follow:
Q: Knowledge-based companies were trying to produce vaccines for coronavirus. Where have they got?
A: Knowledge-based firms have, so far, signed contracts for the production of 6 types of vaccines. By the end of this year, 5 human vaccines will be added to the country’s drug production cycle. This is the first time that Iran’s private sector has stepped into the domain of vaccine production.
Q: Knowledge-based companies also shone well in the field of diagnosis kits.
A: We have several kits in the domain of coronavirus diagnosis. The kits have been domestically developed and are approved. A letter has been sent to the health minister and we have received the permit to export kits. It’s been weeks that serology kits have been mass-produced and are being used by different centres. We produce enough kits to meet the health ministry’s demand.
Now, some one million coronavirus testing kits are produced every day. Reaching such a high figure comes on the back of efforts by knowledge-based companies. These tests are conducted based on blood samples.
We don’t have any special problems in the production of masks and disinfectants, either.
Among other measures adopted is developments in the domain of artificial intelligence. The Sharif University of Technology has developed a method whereby it can analyze CT scan images to tell, with 97 to 99 percent accuracy, if a person has contracted the coronavirus.
Q: We have ventilators made in Iran. How is their quality compared to that of ventilators made in foreign countries?
A: There are two knowledge-based companies in Iran which make this apparatus and have even exported ventilators to Britain and Sweden, and also meet the country’s demand for the product.
Q: One of the requirements to fight the coronavirus is masks. What have we done in this regard?
A: Another activity which has been done is the production of N95 masks. This mask is very similar to an ordinary one, but its filtering system is based on natotechnology. This mask absorbs more than 95 percent of contaminants which are 10 micron in size.
Today, 56 knowledge-based companies produce masks. Moreover, we manufacture mask-producing machines and even export them.
Q: What have we done in the domain of medicine?
A: Only one week into the coronavirus outbreak, Iranian companies began producing drugs similar to the ones produced abroad. Now, the length of time that coronavirus patients need to recover has decreased by 5 days using Iranian-made drugs.
Knowledge-based companies have done very well in fighting the coronavirus. These companies have been very active in studying the nature and identifying the genetic basis of the virus, and have achieved good results, too.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, a scientific committee was set up at the National Coronavirus Headquarters. It should also be mentioned that individuals themselves contributed heavily to the activities of knowledge-based companies.