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Dec 30, 2021 / 13:56

First oral Covid-19 vaccine to be tested in Vietnam

The oral Covid-19 vaccine is expected to improve the vaccination, reduce costs, and minimize undesirable side effects.

Vietnam’s Tan Thanh Holdings and 10 Pharma JSC will be the distributors of the first oral Covid-19 vaccine named Oravax, which is in clinical trials, throughout Southeast Asian nations.

Israel's Oramed Pharmaceuticals (ORMP.O) and the Vietnamese firms signed a cooperation agreement for the pre-order of 10 million doses of Oravax at a ceremony held online on December 29 afternoon.

OraVax is the world's first oral Covid-19 vaccine. Its phase I clinical trials and results should be available in early 2022. The vaccine has been shown to work in animal tests.

Nadav Kidron, Chief Executive of Oramed and Oravax Chairman, said Vietnam could decide on a short Phase II trial and then give emergency authorization.

 At the signing ceremony for cooperation agreement of oral Covid-19 vaccine Oravax. Photo: Tan Thanh Holdings

The oral Covid-19 vaccine is expected to improve the vaccination, reduce costs, and minimize undesirable side effects, Nadav Kidron added.

He viewed Tan Thanh Holdings as an ideal partner for his business to bring the oral vaccine to Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries that have a combined population of over 660 million.

The deal gives Tan Thanh Holdings the right to sell Oravax’s oral vaccine throughout Southeast Asian countries, consisting of Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, Nadav Kidron said.

Duong Thi Bich Diep, chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Tan Thanh Holdings, said that after the end of the first phase of the OraVax trial in South Africa, Vietnam will become one of the next clinical trial sites.

Oramed Pharmaceuticals and partners aim to test the vaccine on two target populations, children and the elderly, with underlying medical conditions, Diep said, adding that her group expects the vaccine to be approved for emergency use in 2023.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador to Israel Do Minh Hung stressed the significance of the cooperation, saying this is the first time Vietnam and Israel have cooperated in high-tech health care, both in terms of trade and technology transfer.

The cooperation contents match guidelines of the Vietnamese Government and meet domestic demand for vaccine access, he said.

For his part, Deputy Health Minister Tran Van Thuan said that the oral vaccine will help change the attitudes of some people who have an anti-vaccination mindset and reduce pressure on medical facilities.

“When there are enough data and relevant records, the Ministry of Health will consider approving the oral vaccine, as vaccines have been an important weapon in the fight against the rapid spreading of the novel coronavirus,” Thuan said.