Iran has produced favipiravir for the first time as it continues its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, says the head of Iran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital, which is one of the leading medical centers treating patients with the new coronavirus infection in the Iranian capital.
Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati, who is also a senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, made the remarks in a meeting with the medical staff of the hospital on Sunday.
“Fortunately, favipiravir was produced for the first time at Shahid Beheshti Medical University’s School of Pharmacy and has been made available to Masih Daneshvari Hospital … to be used for treatment of coronavirus patients,” Velayati said.
He added that treatment of coronavirus patients at the hospital was cost-free and all services were provided gratis.
The new development came after reports indicating that Iranian pharmaceutical companies and leading infectious disease experts have joined hands to produce an anti-malaria drug, recommended by the World Health Organization, to treat COVID-19 patients at a time when US sanctions hinder the country’s access to drugs and medical equipment.
They say they will continue to produce the medicine as long as the country needs it. The efforts are particularly crucial as Iran is under one of the toughest sanction regimes ever imposed on a country.
Iranian Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani also said on Sunday that the country will increase the production of protective masks for coronavirus relief to four million per day by the end of the current month.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Iran had an overall capacity to manufacture 700,000 masks per day, the minister said, adding Iran’s production of sanitizers has also risen eight-fold.
The United States has refused to lift sanctions on Iran and even tightened them several times in recent weeks, making it almost impossible for the Islamic Republic to access life-saving medications and medical equipment necessary in the fight against the deadly new coronavirus pandemic.
Iran says the unilateral US sanctions have seriously hampered its fight against the pandemic.
An Iranian Health Ministry spokesman said on Sunday Iran’s death toll from COVID-19 had passed the 3,600 mark among a total of 58,226 infected people.
One hundred and fifty-one people have died in the past twenty-four hours, Kianush Jahanpur said.
“Fortunately, the recovery process has accelerated and so far 22,011 patients have recovered and been discharged,” he added.