Vietnam yet to purchase Russian COVID-19 vaccine

VOV.VN - Vietnam has yet to initiate plans to purchase a newly announced vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus produced by Russia pending confirmation on its safety and effectiveness, according to a Vietnamese health official.

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Russia's first COVID-19 vaccine is developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow (Photo: AFP)

Dr. Do Tuan Dat, director of the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 (VABIOTEC) under the Ministry of Health, said Russia is poised to launch its manufactured vaccine known as ‘Sputnik V’, the first of its kind worldwide, although it has yet to release any scientific data relating to testing. 

“Russia has not published scientific research into the vaccine, therefore we have no reference data as well as an assessment of its effectiveness,” Dr. Dat told Lao Dong (Labour) daily for its August 13 issue.

According to the director, every vaccine must pass through all stages of clinical trials in an effort to assess its safety and effectiveness before being put into circulation. Despite these stringent procedures, all the data relating to the first COVID-19 vaccine is being kept by Russia, with global experts unable to judge how safe and effective the vaccine is scientifically.

Asked if Vietnam has plans to import the vaccine from Russia, Dr. Dat affirmed that “Vietnam has yet to mention it”.

“For a vaccine, it is imperative to know how it is before we can make a decision on whether or not to import it,” Dr. Dat said, adding that, “Once the vaccine research is widely published, with good results of course, we will consider the next step of importing it and registering for circulation in Vietnam.”

Dr. Dat also stated that many countries are now in a race against time to manufacture a new COVID-19 vaccine, with mass production set to prove a significant challenge for manufacturers. 

“We have so far kept a close watch on global research results in order to come up with next steps before conducting the clinical trial phase. We are not aiming to lead the race, but to be proactive in manufacturing the vaccine appropriately.”

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VABIOTECH researchers are taking mouse blood samples to evaluate antibodies to immune response after injection. (Photo: VABIOTECH)

At present a total of four Vietnamese companies, including VABIOTEC, have registered to research and develop a COVID-19 vaccine locally, with a candidate vaccine poised to begin human trials later this year.

Providing that the testing stage process runs smoothly, the “Made-in-Vietnam” vaccine to combat the COVID-19 is expected to be commercially marketed in late 2021.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus first reoccurred in the central city of Da Nang in late July. The latest outbreak has since spread to 15 cities and provinces nationwide with 421 new cases confirmed, including 18 fatalities.

VOV

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