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Iran unveils homegrown rapid antigen coronavirus test kits

Iran has unveiled a new generation of homegrown test kits that allow rapid detection of the new coronavirus with high accuracy in less than half an hour.

The Iranian rapid antigen test kit was put on display during a ceremony attended by Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, head of the Tehran Coronavirus Combat Taskforce, Dr. Alireza Zali, as well as director of the Executive Headquarters of Imam’s Directive, Mohammad Mokhber Dezfuli, on Tuesday.

The kit is manufactured by the knowledge-based Barakat E-Health Company (BEHCo), and is capable of detecting the virus between 15 and 20 minutes. It is set to enter the market in the near future.

According to its website, BEHCo is a private company that engages state-of-the-art technologies in the field of public health to improve the quality of and access to healthcare services for a broad spectrum of individuals and professionals.

It continues to enable physicians and clinicians to connect to one another in an effort to provide better health services on a large scale. 

Zali praised the latest achievement, saying that Iran has acquired the knowhow to manufacture the sophisticated test kit and is now one of the world’s five producers of the kit — the others being the United States, China, South Korea and Britain.

He noted that the homegrown rapid antigen coronavirus test kit has been administered on 500 patients under the supervision of Pasteur Institute of Iran (IPI), and has secured clinical approval.

Zali went on to say that the new kit has successfully passed all research procedures and relevant standards and is able to increase the daily number of COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

The senior Iranian health official highlighted that the test kits have 85 percent accuracy and help expedite the process for symptomatic patients compared to the RT-PCR tests currently being used.

Iran announces partial lockdown in areas hit hardest by coronavirus

Over the past month, Iran — one of the countries hardest hit by the virus — has registered record numbers of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths, prompting authorities to tighten the curbs aimed at containing the surge, which has overwhelmed hospitals countrywide.

On Sunday, officials announced that “severe restrictions” will be imposed in as many as 150 cities with the highest infection rates.

As part of the measures, inter-city travel will be banned, while non-essential businesses and public places will be closed.

Iran also plans to enforce a night-time lockdown between 21:00 p.m. and 4 a.m. local time as of November 21. 

According to the latest figures provided by the Health Ministry, 482 more Iranians have lost their lives to the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 42,461.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Health Ministry spokesperson Sima-Sadat Lari reported a daily 13,352 new cases of COVID-19 infection, raising the total number of infections to 788,473. She added that 570,774 patients had already recovered, while 5,691 remained in critical condition.

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