During my short visit to Tehran, I take a chance to observe HIV/AIDS and Biotech activities there. I am definitely keen want to witness the daily life of Tehran society. Prof Hoesein Nader Manesh, a lecturer at the Faculty of Basic Science, University of Modares, suggested me to visit The Iran Research for Science and Technology. I undoubtedly accepted his suggestion happily. Prof Manesh then called the Institute Director and it turned out that I can visit the institute on the next day. Since the institute is located in Kharaj City, about 60 km away from Tehran, one of the institute staff picked me up at the hotel. The staff are so nice. But one thing made me surprised when I entered the room of the institute director. It turned out that Prof .Nasrin Moazami is a woman. She looks like Mrs Meiwita. She is so frinedly and welcomed me at her room, which was neat and full of flowers.
I found out later on that Prof. Nasrin Moazami is one of the role models among researchers in Iran. She is the pioneer of the development in the research of parasitology and Microbiology. Her research in 1986 found the bacteria of Bacillus thuringeinsis that can kill the larvae of Anopheles, Aedes or Culex mosquitoes. A great finding of this bacteria is that it has potential to eradicate diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes such as malaria, Dengue, Filariasis and many others.
However, this finding cannot be immediately implemented. She had to wait for so long to build the pilot plant to produce more bacteria and also to re-examine the advantages of the resulted products. Fortunately the UNDP and Unesco were interested and provided financial supports to build the pilot plant in 1990. In this pilot plant she conducted preparation, fermentation, drying until the formation of the product that later on was called bioflash. The products that are produced by this pilot plant turned out to be good. This fact encouraged Prof Moazami to produce Bioflash in a big scale. But her dream cannot materialize soon. She must wait for so long (around 10 years) and it was until 5 years ago that an Iranian private company was interested in building the plant and producing bioflash. Through her hard work finally Prof. Moazami can materialize her dream; two years ago the plant started its production with the capacity of 100 metric ton per year. Around 20 % of the products are utilized by Iranian government while the rest is ready to be exported.
When I visited the institute, there were also delegations of Thailand that are interested in purchasing this bioflash product. Meanwhile, Malaysia has started earlier: around a year ago it forged cooperation with Iran. This product has undergone trial tests in India, Sudan, Senegal and Uganda. It seems that we in Indonesia need to consider this biolarvacide product in order to eradicate diseases transmitted by mosquitoes in our country. Before leaving for Tehran, I had a chance to examine a Phd candidate in the University of Indonesia; his research shows that around 18% of pregnant mothers in Bekasi are infected by Filaria. Not to mention the problem of dengue fever and malaria that are still the health problems in our country.
I asked for a permission to visit the plant and it turned out that they allowed me to. It seems that there are some easy access for Indonesians in Iran. The plant is quite big with modern equipment that similar with the ones I saw in a plant that produced Hepatitis B vaccine in Havana. In this bioflash plant, there are large fermentors with the capacity of 12,000. There are 35 staff in the plant, who are graduated from universities in Iran. They are still young of between 28-35 years. The Director, Mohammad Asgarina is also still young.
A researcher of course will be happy if their findings can be beneficial for the society. I admire the struggle of Prof. Moazami. She is successful in making her research become something useful in eradicating diseases that threaten half of the worl population. Although to materialize her dream she must fight and take a long, winded, and tiring path.
Furthermore, the institute of bioflash also has many other projects such as biologic fertilizer that is expected to be environmentally-friendly. This Institute also cooperates with European company in developing biomarine research on drugs invention and nutritional substances. Also with Singapore for developing alternative energy.
In Indonesia, I believe that similar researches have been conducted. But not many are ended with resulted products. The results usually come in the forms of research reports, theses or dissertations. If lucky enough, they can be in the form of publications. The struggle of Prof. Moazami can become an example that great endeavor and patience will eventually materialize the researchers’ dreams in creating something useful for the society.
Tehran, 30 Oct 2007