22.07.2020, 18:23

Vietnam accelerates research and production of possible COVID-19 vaccine

Vietnam accelerates research and production of possible COVID-19 vaccine
Prof., Dr. Nguyen Thanh Long, acting Minister of Health, speaks at the seminar. (Photo: NDO/Thien Lam)

NDO – Vietnam currently has four manufacturers and research agencies working on a vaccine against COVID-19, offering favourable conditions to accelerate the production of a made-in-Vietnam vaccine to proactively prevent and control the pandemic, the acting health minister has said.

Health experts and scientists gathered at a seminar held by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on July 22, discussing research, production, clinical trials, licensing and the use of vaccines in Vietnam.

The workshop introduced the appropriate mechanisms, policies and regulations to facilitate the research, production, trials, licensing and use of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, helping to cope with the pandemic while ensuring the efficacy and safety of the vaccine for future study on vaccinated participants as well as users.

It also featured an overview of the research on COVID-19 vaccine development from around the world and preliminary results and research plans for possible COVID-19 vaccines by four domestic manufacturers, including Vabiotech, Polyvac, Ivac, Nanogen.

Prof., Dr. Nguyen Thanh Long, acting Minister of Health, said that the world has recorded more than 15 million infections and over 600,000 deaths from COVID-19. The pandemic has shown no sign of stopping and there is no indications of any country successfully stopping it. Therefore, vaccine production is one of the top priorities for all countries.

According to the speaker, there are now 24 vaccines globally moving to Stage 3 trials, with some bringing about positive results.

As of July 15, there are 163 COVID-19 candidate vaccines at different stages. Among them, 23 are in the human testing phase.

According to Long, Vietnam is one of 42 countries that can produce vaccines. It is also one among 38 nations with vaccine management agencies meeting the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s two standards. This is an opportunity for cooperation as well as the export of vaccines made in Vietnam, he added.

The MOH has directed the relevant units to research and put possible COVID-19 vaccines into production soon. Currently, Vietnam has four vaccine research and production units and the COVID-19 vaccine production has gained positive results, Long informed.

He added that the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (Ivac), based on the existing technology of using chicken eggs with embryos to produce influenza vaccines, is researching and application of the technology to a possible COVID-19 vaccine production. This approach is feasible and positive, Long stated, adding that if it meets the requirements in August, Vietnam will soon subject Ivac’s potential COVID-19 vaccine into the clinical trial phase later this year.

In addition, the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 (Vabiotech) is also working with the University of Bristol in the UK on a possible COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, Vabiotech has conducted preclinical research trials on animals, with very satisfactory results and good immune responses.

Long called for more support from the Government, regulatory agencies, vaccine manufacturers, researchers, donors and technical support units to soon complete the vaccines.

He also announced that his ministry is preparing to establish a vaccine fund to help Vietnam be proactive in its domestic supply and ensure speedy access to vaccines around the world.

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