Skip to main content

Iran’s IRGC claims it's close to producing coronavirus vaccine

As the coronavirus marches across Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has claimed that its research teams are set to produce a vaccine.
Members of the medical team spray disinfectant to sanitize outdoor place of Imam Reza's holy shrine, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Mashhad, Iran February 27, 2020. Picture taken February 27, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY - RC2FAF9ALELI

A medical research center affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) says it is testing a vaccine that promises to eradicate the killer coronavirus. According to Brig. Gen. Alireza Jalali, the president of Baqiatollah Medical Sciences University, the vaccine is awaiting permits from Iran’s Food and Drug Organization to enter the clinical phase.

No further details have been released on the vaccine. But in a statement March 4, the Food and Drug Organization “strongly denied” all recent “reports and rumors” on social media that had claimed a breakthrough in the fight against the virus. Still, the organization, which has the final authority on the production and distribution of medicines in Iran, did not make specific reference to the IRGC announcement.

The IRGC is also working to develop its own testing kits within 12 months. The scarcity of testing kits has been one of the impediments to proper handling of the outbreak in Iran. 

Last week, Health Minister Saeed Namaki confidently declared in a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Iran will soon “astonish the world by bringing the virus to its knees.” Only two days later, he was lamenting domestic hoarding of medical supplies and how it is depriving ordinary Iranians and his colleagues at hospitals of face masks and other badly needed protective equipment.

As of March 4, there were unconfirmed reports that First Vice President Is’haq Jahangiri and Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani had tested positive for the virus. The same day, the updated official death toll surged to 92 as the community of the infected Iranians topped 2,900. The highest-ranking official to have cast doubt on the daily statistics was pro-Reform Deputy Parliament Speaker Masoud Pezeshkian. A former health minister himself, Pezeshkian lashed out at the government for refusing to impose a lockdown on the city of Qom, which has been Iran's epicenter of the disease.

In their latest containment measures, the authorities extended the unprecedented cancelation of Friday prayers in the provincial capitals for a second consecutive week. The sermons have traditionally been the key podium for the Islamic Republic to elucidate its political ideology and a venue for slogans against its top enemies, Israel and the United States.

On the front lines in the overcrowded and chaotic hospitals, Iranian nurses attend an increasing number of patients and fight the virus often unprotected and unequipped. Nevertheless, they are also going the extra mile to stay cheerful and spread optimism among their communities. One trending social media campaign is a “dance challenge.” As dancing is banned in the Islamic Republic, medical workers are using their masks and gowns to hide their identities while dancing to lift the spirits of a shocked and distressed society.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial