Iran inaugurated the largest factory producing face masks in southwest Asia on Tuesday, obviating the country’s need for import of the medical product amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Director of the Executive Headquarters for of Imam’s Directive Mohammad Mokhber said the factory, situated in Alborz Province, has been set up in one month and has the daily production capacity for three million surgical masks and 100,000 N95 masks.
He said a number of machineries in the factory have been imported from abroad, while the other mask producing equipment has been manufactured by the country’s knowledge-based companies.
The production would quadruple Iran’s mask production compared to before the coronavirus outbreak.
Iranian companies have stepped up their efforts to produce medical equipment to meet the country’s demands amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Iran has been the hardest hit Middle Eastern state by the highly contagious virus that first showed up in China in late December 2019 before spreading across the globe.
Illegal US sanctions have hampered the virus fight in Iran, which has confirmed 74,877 infections and 4,683 deaths since the outbreak was reported in the country in late February.
Iranian firms have been also active in designing and producing coronavirus testing kits.
On Tuesday, a tech company said it has designed and developed coronavirus testing kits meeting international standards in cooperation with a science-based firm in Turkey, and that the two are ready to produce one million of them per week to help speed up the detection of patients infected with COVID-19.
Speaking to IRNA, Parsian Seismograph Managing Director Ali Seifpour Abolhassani said that his company was cooperating with a Turkish firm on developing coronavirus testing kits, which had already secured international certificates.
“Next week, samples of these kits will be presented to the Health Ministry, and once approved, the firm has the capacity to produce one million kits per week,” he added.
Abolhassani also explained that the firm under his watch was not able to directly obtain the raw chemicals it needed for the project due to the economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, and only managed to get them from the Germany-based Merck KGaA pharmaceutical company via the Turkish company.
Now, the coronavirus testing kits are being produced in large numbers, he said, noting that the Turkish company has been receiving orders from the US, where it is in high demand due to the country’s large population.
“The mass production [of the testing kits] is underway in Turkey and in our country, once the Health Ministry gives the authorization, they will be labeled with the company’s own trademark and supplied domestically,” Abolhassani pointed out.
Turkey is the second hardest hit country in the Middle East recording more than 60,000 cases and a death toll of 1,296 so far.
Military forces help
Iranian military forces have also been active in producing medical equipment to help the government fight the deadly virus.
A senior Iranian military commander said on Tuesday that the Army’s Ground Forces are set to unveil five new healthcare-related achievements that will help with the diagnosis of COVID-19 and prevent the deadly coronavirus from spreading.
Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari, commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces, said that “two achievements in the field of diagnosis and three achievements in the field of disinfection will be unveiled” during a ceremony on Wednesday.
The Army, he said, is advancing “a mega project for sterilizing cities and open areas,” which has already been put into use.
The Iranian commander further enumerated a set of measures adopted by the Armed Forces to help eliminate the disease, including the launch of convalescent centers and mobile hospitals, as well as the production of masks and disinfectants.
He said that the Iranian Army has made available some 28 hospitals and 12,000 medical staff, as well as 9,900 hospital beds to the country’s Health Ministry.
In another development on Tuesday, a specialist in charge of the country’s plasma therapy project for COVID-19, which involves injecting antibody-rich plasma from coronavirus survivors into patients, said that the therapy had been launched in six provinces with the help of the Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization.
Dr. Hassan Abolghassemi emphasized that efforts were being directed toward expanding the plasma therapy, with the main center being Tehran’s Baghiyyatollah al-Azam Military Hospital, to other Iranian provinces.
The initial results show that the treatment has reduced by 40 percent the mortality rate among COVID-19 patients in critical condition, he added.
IRNA, Press TV and Tasnim News Agency contributed to this story.
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