Vietnam strives for at least one successful homegrown COVID-19 vaccine in 2021

Vietnam strives to have at least one successful domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine this year, according to deputy health minister Tran Van Thuan.

Speaking at a meeting of the special working group on COVID-19 vaccine development and clinical trials on July 17, Thuan emphasised that COVID-19 vaccine is a matter of paramount concern to the Vietnamese Party and State leaders. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, has asked World Health Organisation (WHO) experts to help Vietnam with COVID-19 vaccine research and production to ensure vaccine self-supply.

This would help the research and clinical trials of Nanocovax and COVIVAC vaccines, two candidates making the most progress in the four under development in Vietnam, he said.

Thuan emphasised that the issue is how to make full use of the support from WHO experts in the accreditation of laboratories, the recognition of clinical trial procedures and most importantly the recognition of Vietnam’s own COVID-19 vaccine towards vaccine self-sufficiency, and furthermore, vaccine exports.

The health official also suggested that members of the Special Working Group work to their best capacity in providing “maximum support to domestic researchers and manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines,” with most flexible and best possible assistance to the ones in need of support.

The National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi and HCM City Pasteur Institute, two focal points in organising vaccine clinical trials, were asked to proactively prepare the necessary conditions both in terms of human resources, equipment and facilities, etc. to carry out necessary components in trials of transferred vaccines.

The Ministry of Health will soon submit to the Government a plan to use the budget from the National COVID-19 Vaccine Fund to support the implementation of phase 3 clinical trials for domestically developed vaccines as well as transferred vaccines, and request the Government to direct relevant ministries and agencies to coordinate with the health ministry in participating in clinical trial studies to ensure safety, progress and efficiency.

Thuan asked that members join a Viber group, which will also include the contacts of health ministry’s leaders, to have timely exchanges on matters concerning vaccine research and development.

“Science matters the most in the research and development of domestic COVID-19 vaccines, but flexibility will also be an important issue to consider. We strive to have at least one manufacturer making a successful homegrown COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021 at the earliest,” the health official stressed.

Nanogen, the developer of the Nano Covax vaccine, this week said it has administered the first jab to 13,000 volunteers in its phase 3 human trials, with the second dose expected to be given before end of August, eyeing full clinical data for reviews this year.

The Covivac vaccine, by the Institution of Vaccine and Biological Medical in Nha Trang city, wrapped up phase 1 in late June and plans to carry out phase 2 soon.

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