Vietnam prepares to put indigenous Covid-19 vaccine on human trial 

The Company for Vaccine and Biological Production (VABIOTECH) under the Ministry of Health had two trial injection phases on lab mice, that produced good results and the facility is planning to conduct a trial of the Covid-19 vaccine on human. 
July 01, 2020 | 15:28
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Vietnam tests Covid-19 vaccine on lab mice. Photo: Vnexpress.

Speaking to, Head of the Hanoi-based VABIOTECH company Do Tuan Dat said that the indigenous Covid-19 vaccine researched and produced by the facility in collaboration with UK’s Bristol University is heading to the next phase of the human trial, which is expected to implement in early 2021.

So far, VABIOTECH has conducted two tests on lab mice, of which four batches of mice demonstrate safety and immune response, serving as an important foundation to progress and complete the vaccine.

“We hope that the trial vaccination on animals will be conducted one more time in the next 4 -5 months, to at least the next 9 months before officially beginning human testing. Then, we need some 2 or 3 months further to complete manufacturing process for human use”, Dat said.

To make the Covid-19 vaccine a commercial product, it is necessary to accelerate the manufacturing capacity to millions of doses, however, stable quality is a must.

VABIOTECH is the first unit in Vietnam successfully developing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate and has tested on mice.

Dat said that no sooner had Wuhan scientists announced the COVID-19 gene sequence, did VABIOTECH researchers start collaborating with scientists at Bristol University (UK) to study the domestic Covid-19 vaccine.

For vaccine development, there are many different options with a variety of technologies can support the work such as viral vectors, DNA, and RNA synthesis. The technology adopted by VABIOTECH is a virus vector - the system is installed with one or more gene regions encoding the desired antigen region. During immunization, protein antigens will be expressed interacting with the host to induce an immune response to the target pathogen.

The “Made-in-Vietnam” Covid-19 vaccine project was launched in February and is evaluated to exceed the 2-month progress of phase 1, which is considered the most important in the Covid-19 vaccine researching progress.

Around 150 Covid-19 vaccine development projects are being carried out worldwide. Eight vaccines have begun human testing.

On Tuesday, India has approved its first vaccine candidate COVAXIN against the novel coronavirus, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) to conduct Phase I and 2 human trials. According to the vaccine maker, human clinical trials of the experimental COVID-19 are scheduled to start across the country in July 2020, reported Times Now.

In a recent meeting of representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday in Vietnam, WHO Representative to Vietnam Kidong Park Kidong Park said that COVID-19 Vaccine Alliance wants to invite Vietnam to participate in research and production. "Joining the COVID-19 Vaccine Alliance is an important key for people to access to the vaccine as soon as possible, which is expected around the end of 2021," said Mr. Kidong Park.

Regarding vaccine production, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that Vietnam has two units taking charge of researching the production of vaccines against COVID-19, which have conducted trials on mice.

Accordingly, vaccine quality is relatively good. It is expected that it will be tested on primate and later in humans. Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Long wants WHO and international organizations to cooperate and share experiences to ramp up the vaccine production process in Vietnam.

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