Iranian Tech Firms Helping Ward Off COVID-19 - english
Iranian Tech Firms Helping Ward Off COVID-19
Iranian knowledge-based firms have stepped forward to produce health protective items needed to combat the novel coronavirus rapidly spreading in the country.
Sorena Sattari, the vice president for science and technology, elaborated on their achievements in a statement, his website Isti.ir reported. He said several studies have been conducted on the nature of COVID-19 in collaboration with the academia and tech firms to help develop health protective products.
“Fortunately, these endeavors have paid off, as two types of coronavirus test kits, one for blood and the other for saliva, have been successfully mass-produced by home-grown tech firms. This can help test several million people per week.” Sattari noted that hospitals are not facing any shortage of devices, including CT Scan devices, ventilators, ICU and surgery room equipment, oxygen concentrators and BiPAP machines.
“Surgical and N95 facemasks are being produced in the country and soon 40 new production lines will be added to the current capacity,” he said. The official said the government’s huge investment in the development of knowledge-based firms has paid off, as tech-based businesses are contributing considerably to the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The most recent achievement is a disinfecting tunnel developed by a Tehran-based firm named Tavan Rasa Sanat Payetakht (also known as Steam Power). Installed at the entrance of banks, shops, offices and even residential complexes, the sanitizing tunnel is equipped with kinetic sensors that can detect people as soon as they walk into it. Then, sanitizing materials are thoroughly sprayed on their bodies through 16 embedded nozzles.
Besides, a special misting system has been prepared in the tunnel that can sanitize hands in three seconds. The product has received all the required quality certifications and is ready for mass production. The firm announced that since the disinfecting tunnel has been certified early this week, numerous institutions have expressed interest, including banks, dairy manufacturers, municipality offices and insurance companies.
Despite their diligent efforts to help buttress the fight against the coronavirus, startups, tech firm and knowledge-based firms have been severely hit by the negative effects of the outbreak. As a result, Iranian authorities are increasing support to help restore their businesses.
In mid-March, the government-backed Iran National Innovation Fund announced that it is planning to pay 50 trillion rials ($119 million) in loans to knowledge-based firms to boost their operations. With the COVID-19 outbreak distorting the Iranian startup ecosystem’s prospects, the state fund has extended an aid package to the sector.
According to INIF chief Ali Vahdat, some 200 firms expressed interest in receiving the fund, although the most eligible will be selected. “The move is aimed at increasing the production of health-protective items needed during the pandemic, including facemasks, hand sanitizers, alcohol-based disinfectants and medical air disinfectant machines, along with antibacterial fabrics and covers for hospital use,” he said.
To receive the loan and start production, the applicant knowledge-based firm should be certified by all the institutions involved, including Iran’s Food and Drug Administration and Health Ministry. Vahdat noted that the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology and Iran Nanotechnology Innovation Council have agreed to scrutinize the credentials of applicants and introduce the final list of eligible firms.
Referring to the spread of novel coronavirus in the country, Vahdat said the pandemic cannot be controlled without utilizing the potentials of the domestic tech ecosystem. “The country’s knowledge-based economy, which has currently grown significantly, is being helped by young entrepreneurs and tech teams to withstand the negative effects of the disease,” he added.
First reported in China’s Wuhan Province in December 2019, the coronavirus has so far infected 1,605,692 people around the world, claiming the lives of 95,765. The number of recovered cases has reached 356,969, according to Reuters reporting on Friday. Iran reported the virus outbreak in mid-February, which has so far taken the lives of 4,110 people out of a total of 66,220 infected people. According to Iran’s Health Ministry, 32,309 patients have so far recovered from the disease.