Vietnam may begin human trials of Covid-19 vaccine this month

By Chi Le   November 2, 2020 | 11:05 pm PT
Vietnam may begin human trials of Covid-19 vaccine this month
A medical worker handles mice's blood samples for Covid-19 vaccine research in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
A Vietnamese Covid-19 vaccine may enter human trials as early as this month, a health ministry official said Tuesday.

The vaccine, produced by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, would be the first Vietnamese Covid-19 vaccine to be tested on humans if approved, said Nguyen Ngo Quang, deputy head of the Administration of Science, Technology and Training under the Ministry of Health.

The health ministry is currently urging Nanogen to ready the vaccine for human trials within November, Quang said. Clinical trials would occur over three stages, during which the vaccine would be tested on 20 people, then 600, and finally over 10,000.

Vietnam currently has four Covid-19 vaccines under research, produced by Nanogen, Vabiotech, Polyvac and the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC).

The health ministry has deemed Nanogen’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate among the most promising, having been successfully produced at laboratory scale and provoking immunogenicity during animal testing.

Since late last month, another Vietnamese Covid-19 vaccine, produced by Hanoi-based Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 (Vabiotech), has been tested on 12 rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Trials are expected to last around a month, said Vu Cong Long, animal farm manager at the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (Polyvac) under the health ministry.

The country has recorded 1,192 Covid-19 cases so far, 89 still active. A total 35 have succumbed to the disease, many being elderly patients with underlying conditions like diabetes or kidney failure.

No community transmission has been recorded in around three months.

There are 38 Covid-19 vaccines in various phases of clinical testing globally.

Before a vaccine could enter clinical trials, it needs to go through pre-clinical development stages like laboratory research and tests on cell, tissue cultures and animal subjects.

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