Vietnam’s COVID-19 vaccine trials strictly observe WHO’s guidance

The trials of COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam strictly follow the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international organisations in terms of safety and immunity.
January 15, 2021 | 07:19
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Medical workers prepare to inject Nanocovax into volunteers. Photo: VNA

The trials of COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam strictly follow the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international organisations in terms of safety and immunity.

The affirmation was made by Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang at a press conference in Hanoi on January 14.

She said the Military Medical University gave 75mcg of Nanocovax, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Vietnam, to three volunteers on January 12. This is the highest dose of the vaccine given to volunteers during the first stage of human trials.

On January 14, three volunteers, who got the first shot of the 25mcg dose of Nanocovax last December, received the second, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

The three, comprising one male and two females aged between 20 and 25, are among the first 20 volunteers given the vaccine on December 17, 2020.

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Developed by the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC and the Vietnam Military Medical University, Nanocovax is Vietnam’s first candidate vaccine against the novel coronavirus to reach the human trial stage. Photo: Lao dong (Labour) newspaper

Prof. Do Quyet, Director of the Hanoi-based Vietnam Military Medical University, said the second shot comes 28 days after the first one.

As volunteers haven’t shown abnormal symptoms after getting the first injection, the 25mcg, 50mcg, and 75mcg doses of Nanocovax have been tested on remaining groups of volunteers safely.

So far, all volunteers have been in stable health condition. Some felt pain at the injection site or mild fever, but the symptoms disappeared after 24 hours, Quyet noted.

Assoc. Prof. Chu Van Men, Director of the university’s clinical trial centre, said 50 percent of the first phase of human trials has completed.

The university has received more than 500 applications for Nanocovax trials, but only 51 are eligible for joining the first phase of testing due to strict selection criteria.

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One of the female volunteers receiving 75mcg Nano Covax shots on January 12. Photo: Ministry of Health

Phase I, with the doses of 25mcg, 50mcg, and 75mcg injected, aims to evaluate the vaccine’s safety. Phase II is set to conduct testing on 560 people and begin in February to assess the vaccine’s effectiveness. Meanwhile, the third phase will need at least 1,500 - 3,000 volunteers, including those in other countries.

If everything goes as planned, the first two phases will finish in February and be followed by the third one when half of Phase II is completed.

Vietnam is one of the 40 countries that have conducted human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Nanocovax is developed by the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, basing on recombinant protein technology.

The country also has several other COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed, by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC), the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 (VABIOTECH), and the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (POLYVAC)./.

Ten imported cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Vietnam on January 14, all quarantined after their arrival, raising the national count to 1,531, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Among the new patients, three are foreign experts and seven are Vietnamese citizens.

A total 1,369 COVID-19 patients have been given the all-clear. The fatalities remain at 35.

Among the active patients, 11 have tested negative for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, 13 twice and 11 thrice.

More than 18,290 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or came from pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined across the country.

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