Vietnam's 2nd coronavirus vaccine set to begin human trials next month

By Xuan Ngoc, Chi Le   January 19, 2021 | 08:51 pm PT
Vietnam's 2nd coronavirus vaccine set to begin human trials next month
Vials and boxes of Covivac, Vietnam's second Covid-19 vaccine, January 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc.
A Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals on Tuesday received approval from the Ministry of Health for human trials.

Covivac will be the second Vietnamese-made vaccine to be tested on humans after the Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC began trials last December of its Nanocovax.

The first phase of the trials will require 120 volunteers aged 18-59 and without underlying health conditions, infectious diseases or allergies, the health ministry said.

The institute, which belongs to the ministry, would coordinate with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi and the Hanoi Medical University to begin recruiting volunteers and prepare equipment and facilities for the trials, Duong Huu Thai, its head, said.

The volunteers would receive the first shot after the Lunar New Year in mid-February.

The second phase is expected to begin in April and the third in July or August.

If things go well, the institute will start mass production of this vaccine and supply six million doses, Thai said.

Trials for Nanocovax began with 60 volunteers split into three groups to be given two doses of 25 mcg, 50 mcg and 75 mcg almost a month apart.

Some have got the second shot, and it has proven safe and immunogenic and produces an immune response four to five times higher than the first, the Vietnam Military Medical University said.

Two other vaccines are under development by the Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 and the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals.

The ministry is in talks with British Covid-19 vaccine developers AstraZeneca and Oxford University to buy 30 million doses. It is also seeking to buy from the U.S. (Pfizer), Russia (Sputnik V) and China.

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