Vietnam set to produce Russian Sputnik V vaccine this year

By Anh Thu   May 22, 2021 | 01:11 am PT
Vietnam set to produce Russian Sputnik V vaccine this year
Workers take care of the shipment of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus disease at the airport, in Caracas, Venezuela, March 29, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Manaure Quintero.
A Health Ministry research center is in negotiation with a Russian partner to obtain the necessary technology for the production of Sputnik V coronavirus disease vaccine this year.

The technology transfer will be conducted in two phases, according to the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (Polyvac) under Vietnam's Ministry of Health.

First, the partner, who was not identified, will provide Polyvac semifinished doses, with the Vietnamese center completing the process of assembly using its own staff, equipment and facilities following guidance from the partner.

It is expected Polyvac could complete 50 million doses per year.

In the second phase, the partner will transfer the necessary technology to produce the vaccine from scratch to Polyvac.

The Health Ministry had allowed Polyvac to import completed Sputnik V vaccine on March 23 though for now, it is unclear how many doses Polyvac will buy.

Sputnik V, known as VGam-COVID-Vac, is developed by the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and is the world’s first registered vaccine, present in more than 65 countries.

The vaccine is produced utilizing adenovirus-based vectors.

Adenovirus genes, which cause the infection, are removed while those carrying the protein code of another virus spike is inserted. This inserted element is safe for the body but still helps the immune system react and produce antibodies, which protect humans from the infection, according to Sputnik’s official website.

Vietnam is currently using the Covid vaccine produced by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca for its mass inoculation program.

The country has received over 2.6 million doses of the vaccine, 117,600 via commercial contracts and the rest through Covax, and immunized over a million of its 96 million population.

Its Ministry of Health has struck deals to buy 30 million AstraZenaca doses and obtain 38.9 million doses of the vaccine via Covax. The ministry has also registered to buy about 10 million additional doses through Covax under the cost-sharing scheme to enjoy the lower prices.

Besides, the nation has also inked a deal for 31 million doses of the U.S.’s Pfizer vaccine within this year.

Domestically, four Vietnamese vaccines are in development, produced by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC), Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 (Vabiotech) and Polyvac.

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