Vietnam should end Covid vaccine development: expert

By Viet Tuan, Son Ha   May 29, 2023 | 03:54 am PT
Vietnam should end Covid vaccine development: expert
Three vials of Covid-19 vaccine by Nanogen in HCMC, which has not completed third-phase clinical trial, June 23, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
A former director of the national hematology institute on Monday proposed for Vietnam to end Covid-19 vaccine development as the worst periods of the disease have passed.

At a National Assembly session on mobilizing and managing resources for the Covid-19 fight, Professor Nguyen Anh Tri, former director of the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, said Vietnam can simply buy Covid-19 vaccines at appropriate prices instead of trying to develop one by itself.

Tri said Vietnam's inability to produce its own Covid-19 vaccine has shown its weakness at this particular field.

In another National Assembly session back in January, Tri said: "Vietnam was wrong to aim to produce Covid-19 vaccines on the shoulders of private businesses, and that was a major lesson." He said one of the reasons was because private businesses may have the funds, but could not match state units' capabilities.

Vietnam has had three Covid-19 vaccine candidates. The ARCT-154, produced by Vinbiocare by receiving technologies from the U.S., has already submitted itself to the Drug Administration of Vietnam to be approved for distribution.

Another vaccine by Nanogen, which did not rely on the national budget, was still in its third-phase clinical trial.

A report by a monitoring team of the National Assembly said that by December 31, 2022, the budget used to purchase Covid-19 vaccines has reached over VND15.1 trillion ($643.4 million), securing over 102 million doses. Over VND7.4 trillion of it was from the national budget, and over VND7.6 trillion was from the country's vaccine fund.

Around VND4.6 billion was used for Covid-19 vaccine development for the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals to develop the Covivac vaccine. As of December 31, 2022, the vaccine has only been at its second-phase clinical trial.

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