Vietnam to trial Israeli oral Covid vaccine

By Thuc Linh   December 29, 2021 | 10:05 pm PT
Vietnam to trial Israeli oral Covid vaccine
People register for Covid-19 vaccination in HCMC, October 16, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
An oral Covid-19 vaccine developed by Israel will be trialled in Vietnam and is expected to be approved for emergency use in 2023.

The OraVax vaccine, produced by Oramed Pharmaceuticals, is already undergoing first phase clinical trials in South Africa. Its commercial partner in Southeast Asia, which aims to transfer the vaccine production technology to Vietnam, is Tan Thanh Holdings.

Tan Thanh has won approval by the Ministry of Health to perform clinical trials for the vaccine in Vietnam, and the ministry would provide budgetary support which has not be been specified yet.

An online signing ceremony to bring the vaccine to Southeast Asia was held Wednesday in the presence of Vietnamese and Israeli authorities.

Its manufacturer claims OraVax provides protection even against new variants.

Duong Thi Bich Diep, chairwoman of the management board of Tan Thanh Holdings, said after the first phase clinical trial in South Africa is completed, Vietnam would become one of the next regions to trial the vaccine.

Oramed Pharmaceuticals and its partners want to carry out the trial on children, elderly people and those with underlying conditions, she added. The second and third phase of clinical trials should end next year and the vaccine is expected to be approved for emergency use in 2023, she said.

Nadav Kirdon, CEO of Oramed Pharmaceuticals, said the deal for clinical trials also entails pre-purchase of OraVax doses. An oral vaccine would help reduce costs and relieve burdens on the vaccination system, and is expected to produce less side effects.

OraVax would be distributed in Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines once approved, he added.

Deputy Minister of Health Trab Van Thuan said an oral vaccine would help shift the attitude of some people hesitant to take vaccines. Once there’s enough data available, the health ministry would consider approving the vaccine for use in the country.

Vietnam has so far either cooperated for clinical trials or obtained vaccine tech transfer on three Covid-19 vaccines: Sputnik V by Russia, ARCT-15 by the U.S. and a vaccine by Japan’s Shionogi.

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