Vietnam begins human trials for 2nd Covid vaccine

By Chi Le   March 14, 2021 | 08:51 pm PT
Vietnam begins human trials for 2nd Covid vaccine
A researcher (L) informs a volunteer about the Covivac vaccine trials at the Hanoi Medical University. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Human trials for Vietnam's second indigenous Covid-19 vaccine began Monday at the Hanoi Medical University.

One hundred twenty volunteers, aged 18-59 and all Vietnamese, are set to participate in the first phase of trials for Covivac made by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC).

It will see 20 of the 120 get a placebo while the rest will get shots of varying doses: 1 mcg, 3 mcg and 10 mcg.

On Monday six volunteers were randomly given either vaccine doses or placebos at the university’s clinical research center, and their health will be closely monitored on-site for 24 hours.

The other 114 volunteers will get them at upcoming sessions, with 12-18 getting shots each time. The sessions will be spaced eight days apart and go on until April 20.

All will get two jabs, 28 days apart, and they will receive health checks eight days after the injections, with researchers monitoring them over phone and doing further checks throughout the trials to evaluate the vaccine’s immunogenicity.

A mid-term report of the first phase is expected to be completed in July.

Nguyen Ngo Quang, deputy head of the Ministry of Health’s Administration of Science Technology and Training, said the total insurance cover for the volunteers is around VND40 billion ($1.7 million).

Last month the second phase of human trials of Nanocovax, the country’s first vaccine -- produced by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC -- began.

Authorities have begun large-scale vaccination after receiving 117,600 doses from British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca last week, starting with frontline workers.

The government is also negotiating with manufacturers in the U.S., Russia and some other countries to obtain a total 150 million doses this year to cover 70 percent of the country’s population.

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