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Iran claims to successfully test virus vaccine on animals, move to humans

Top health official also announces development of cheaper version of remdesivir and favipiravir, which are believed to be helpful in treating some serious COVID-19 cases

A subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, March 16, 2020. (AP/Ted S. Warren, File)
A subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, March 16, 2020. (AP/Ted S. Warren, File)

Iran has successfully tested a coronavirus vaccine on animals and is preparing to move forward to human trials, a top official in the Islamic Republic claimed on Wednesday.

Mohammad Mokhber, who heads the Headquarters of Imam Khomeini’s Directive, a state-owned enterprise, announced the move to human trials “after receiving license from the health ministry.”

He also said the Headquarters, which holds a network of businesses in various fields, has developed a cheaper version of the drug remdesivir, which is believed to be helpful in treating some serious coronavirus cases.

Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namak said remdesivir will enter the market beginning next week and that another COVID-19 medicine, favipiravir, entered the market as well.

Namak also called for cooperation among scientists around the world in developing a vaccine, in comments carried by the Iranian semi-official Fars news agency.

Also on Wednesday, The Trump administration announced that it will pay Pfizer nearly $2 billion for a December delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine the pharmaceutical company is developing.

Britain announced Monday it had secured access to another 90 million experimental COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and others, a move some campaigners warned could worsen a global scramble by rich countries to hoard the world’s limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

China, where the new coronavirus originated, also has several vaccine candidates entering final testing.

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