Iran begins 2nd stage clinical trials of locally made coronavirus vaccine

Tehran, Mar 15 (EFE).- Iran on Monday started the second phase of clinical trials for its locally made Covid-19 vaccine candidate, the first to reach this stage in the country after an initial study showed it to be safe and effective.

Two volunteers, both professors at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, were injected during a ceremony covered by local and foreign media in the Iranian capital.

The first clinical trials of the COV Iran Barkat, produced by Imam Khomeini’s Order Executive Office (EIKO), has shown its effectiveness against the UK variant of the virus that is already spreading in Iran.

Director of the Clinical Trial Center at the university Hamed Hosseini said in a press conference the second phase would comprise 300 volunteers, including people aged between 50-75 years.

The third phase will see 20,000 people in six different cities in Iran take the shot, according to Hosseini.

The first phase of testing took place between January and February, with a total of 56 volunteers aged between 18 and 50 years.

The results of the first phase showed “greater efficacy than expected,” according to Minoo Mohraz, head of COV Iran Barkat’s clincal trials.

The jab had an “efficacy of 90 percent. We hope in this new stage we will get an efficacy of 80-90 percent,” Mohraz told Efe.

EIKO head Mohammad Mokhber announced that is estimated to produce nearly three million doses of the vaccine a month, to reach up to 15 million jabs by June.

“We hope to complete the second and third phases successfully and provide the population with a very safe, effective vaccine with few side effects before the end of spring,” Mokhber said.

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