An Iranian university researcher says domestically-developed coronavirus diagnostic test kits, light-weight ventilators and virus-killing facemasks will soon enter the mass-production stage.
“Diagnostic kits, anti-coronavirus masks and light ventilators developed by researchers at Shahid Beheshti University will soon be mass-produced and put on the market,” Babak Shokri, research deputy at the university in the capital Tehran,said on Tuesday.
He said that the new kits could be used to diagnose the disease in 20 minutes, while the kits available on the market take between oneand several hours to detect the virus.
Shokri said that the newly-developed kits have been designed for diagnosing not only the new coronavirus but also other viruses, including Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and avian flu viruses.
He also explained that the university’s researchers have been working to design masksthat can protect against the outbreak by killing rather than simply trapping the virus.
They are working to manufacture devices that will make the material used in the production of facemasks resistant to the coronavirus through certain physical and chemical processes.
The masks currently in use can only filter pathogens and are not hundred percent safe and therefore the virus might transmit through them, he said, adding that the new masks will either weaken or totally destroy the virus.
He also said that the light-weight ventilators (artificial respirators)are being designed to provide breathing support to patients.
These devices are simpler, lighter and less expensive compared to the full-size models, he said, adding Iranian experts are working to design them and hope they will be ready for production within a month.
Under the current circumstances, Shokri said, the university has developed six scientific-research departments to help authorities in charge of the health sector in their efforts to curtail the outbreak.
Iran launches production line of facemasks
On Tuesday, Iran’s First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri launched a new production line for facemasks in Robat-Karim County, Tehran Province.
The production line is capable of manufacturing some 30,000 filtered and hygienic masks per day.
Iran updates corona deaths, infections
Iran has confirmed 62,589 cases of coronavirus infection since the outbreak was reported in the country in late February.
More than 27,039 people have recovered and 3,872 have died of the virus, according to the latest updates provided by the Health Ministry on Tuesday.
Officials believe cases could surge in the coming weeks if more tests are carried out especially in remote areas where access to health care is low.
However, more testing could also boost efforts to prevent more deaths, especially among the elderly and those suffering from underlying conditions.
Several other biotechnology firms in Iran have developed testing kits for coronavirus amid restrictions on the imports of the diagnostic tools, which come as a result of the American sanctions.
The government has said it would exhaust all its resources to ensure there would be sufficient protective gear and vital equipment to respond to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The United States reinstated its sanctions against Iran in 2018 after leaving a United Nations-endorsed nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic and five other major powers — the UK, France, Russia and China plus Germany.
Washington claims that it has exempted foodstuffs and medicine from the bans, something that Tehran entirely disputes.
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