Vietnam could produce its own rabies vaccine using new UK technique

By Le Nga   November 27, 2019 | 06:56 pm PT
Vietnam could produce its own rabies vaccine using new UK technique
Staff at the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 under the Ministry of Health are at work in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh.
Vietnam could again produce a rabies vaccine after years of imports with a company recently acquiring a new production method from a British university.

The Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 (VABIOTECH) has bought the know-how from the University of Bristol for MultiBac, considered the most advanced vaccine making method in the world.

Vietnam once made its own rabies vaccine, but it caused harmful side effects and production had to be stopped.

The vaccine is now imported at VND300,000-400,000 ($13-17) per shot.

The traditional method of vaccine making involves a process of categorizing virus strains, isolating the required one and culturing it while the MultiBac technique allows designing and cloning of genes. It enables the production of a vaccine in a much shorter period.

Professor Imre Berger of Bristol University, which created the technique, said it has been applied by more than 1,000 laboratories in 20 countries and is used by most prestigious vaccine labels.

Do Tuan Dat, director of VABIOTECH, one of Vietnam's leading companies in researching and developing and manufacturing vaccines and biologicals for human use, said it helps cut the time required for developing a vaccine to three years from the earlier five to 10 years.

"If Vietnam could make the vaccine, people will have access to a high-quality product that costs just half the current price."

According to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, since 2018 rabies has claimed 46 lives in Vietnam.

WHO says vaccination against rabies is used in two distinct situations: to protect those who are at risk of exposure to rabies and to prevent the development of clinical rabies after exposure has occurred, usually following the bite of an animal suspected of having rabies.

VABIOTECH is expected to make the former.

The team at VABIOTECH will also use the MultiBac technique to produce a vaccine for bird flu.

Since 2005 Vietnam has been successfully producing the A-H5N1 vaccine using the traditional method.

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