Mar 05, 2021 / 14:16

Vietnam eyes potential of homemade Covid-19 vaccine

Vietnamese scientists have been making all effort for locally-made Covid-19 vaccine to be applied in massive vaccination program nationwide.

Made-in-Vietnam COVID-19 vaccine could ensure the country's health security and open up hard currency earning opportunities from export.

Vietnamese authorities have authorized Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Joint Stock Company (Nanogen) to proceed with clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine.

After just five months sparing no efforts, boosting creativity and speeding up the research, Nanogen has successfully produced its Nanocovax vaccine candidate and put it into human trials twice.

 Volunteers register to join the clinical trials of Nanocovax vaccine. Photo: Thai Son

Four Vietnamese pharmaceutical companies and agency including Nanogen, Vabiotech, Polyvac and the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) are currently researching anti-Covid-19 vaccines. Each of them has a different approach to technology.

Nanocovax is Vietnam's first Covid-19 vaccine candidate to reach the in-human trial stage. Three other projects are ongoing, including a joint-development effort with Russia.

Made-in-Vietnam Covid-19 vaccine may be ready by end-2021

Trinh Thanh Hung, deputy head of Department of Science and Technology for Economic-Technical Branches under the Ministry of Science and Technology, told Hanoitimes that this is the first time a private unit has stepped into vaccine research and production and has shown its own advantages.

With the momentum of successful drug research, Nanogen gained the “plus points” thanks to its research capability, modern production line and great determination, Hung added.

Recently, volunteers being administered a second dose of 50 mcg of Nanocovax vaccine have shown no unwanted effects or serious complications, so it is expected that by the end of 2021 there will be an official locally-made Covid-19 vaccine.

 Vials of the locally-made Nanocovax vaccine. Photo: Quynh Tran

“With the current progress, we hope that Vietnam would complete all laboratory evaluation data which totally meet the criteria, and would have domestically- produced Covid-19 vaccine ready for use by the end of 2021,” Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thu Van, director of Program of Development of Vaccines for Humans under the Ministry of Health (MoH), told Hanoitimes.

The MoH has committed itself to providing all possible support to vaccine developers to shorten all stages if they could successfully produce a safe and good vaccine.

Vietnam’s ambition on Covid-19 vaccine

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Vietnam has shown positive testing results on humans, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said at a recent meeting, adding that Vietnamese scientists have been making all effort for locally-made Covid-19 vaccine to be applied in massive vaccination program nationwide.

The health ministry would continue to promote anti-coronavirus vaccine research and production, Long stressed.

The nation of nearly 100 million is prioritizing domestic production of the vaccine as a way to ensure it has enough inoculants for its population. Export opportunities are a secondary motive.

The Covid-19 tally in Vietnam currently stands at 2,488. As many as 1,920 patients have recovered from the disease while the death toll stays at 35.