TEHRAN – An Iranian knowledge-based company is trying to develop an oral vaccine to fight COVID-19, Hossein Vatanpour, an official with the Ministry of Health, has announced.
A vaccine made from an inactivated virus causes the body to produce antibodies when facing the virus, he noted, adding, there are other platforms for vaccine development, including using mRNA, DNA, or protein-based subunit vaccines.
In the subunit protein platform, a protein fragment of the virus that can stimulate the immune system is used instead of the whole virus. The DNA-based vaccine platform has received less attention. Among the vaccine platforms, mRNA, subunit protein, and finally inactivated virus vaccine, respectively, are more efficient, he explained.
Currently, some 16 Iranian knowledge-based companies are working on all types of vaccine platforms. One company is active in producing DNA-based vaccines, and about three others are working to make mRNA-based vaccines, he stated, ISNA reported on Wednesday.
About two other companies are planning to make subunit vaccines, and about seven companies are trying to make a vaccine based on the attenuated virus, while only one company is working on producing an oral vaccine, Vatanpour also added.
The vaccine takes at least three years to be developed, but companies have to take shortcuts due to the special circumstances of the pandemic. Everyone in the world is worried about the side effects of vaccines as it may cause serious side effects if it is not properly tested and approved, that is why the companies are more careful, he lamented.
On Tuesday, the first human trial of the Iranian COVID-19 vaccine was performed. At this stage, it is determined whether the vaccine has acute and severe side effects or not, Vatanpour concluded.
Hojjat Niki-Maleki head of the information center of Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam which is in charge of the vaccine production project, also said that over 65,000 people have so far expressed readiness to receive the domestically-made COVID-19 vaccine across the country.
According to Niki-Maleki, the production line of the Iranian coronavirus vaccine with a capacity of 1.5 million doses per month will be launched within the next 40 days.
By the next six months, vaccine production will reach up to 12 million doses per month, he said.
In Iran, vaccine platform in several Iranian companies, including in the pharmaceutical department of the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam, the Ministry of Health, and the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology.
After vaccination, the candidates must remain in quarantine for a week to a month to show the side effects of the vaccine. In the meantime, the test results are checked several times for blood and cellular immunity.
After the results of the study are determined, the second stage begins with the injection in 500 people, and after 28 days, the third phase begins with mass production.