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First Covid-19 Vaccine Candidate in Vietnam Moves to Human Trials

Sixty Vietnamese have volunteered to participate in the first human trial of the vaccine to begin this month.

On Monday, Nguyễn Ngô Quang, Deputy Director of the Department of Science, Technology and Training under the Ministry of Health announced that a Vietnamese company, Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Ltd. Co, is prepared to test its COVID-19 vaccine on human subjects. Previously, the company's vaccine was tested on animals under the guidance of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

Before advancing to the next stage of the approval process, Nanogen's vaccine would need to undergo three rounds of tests on groups of 20, 600 and more than 10,000 people in accordance with regulations regarding safety for volunteers and biomedical research ethical practices. If successful, the company claims it can make 20 million vaccines a month.

Vietnam currently has four domestic research institutions working on COVID-19 vaccines. In addition to Nanogen, Hanoi-based Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 (Vabiotech), is also developing a vaccine that has yielded positive results so far; late last month, the company began testing it on rhesus macaques. If successful, the Vabiotech vaccine would then begin human trials.

The monkeys, which are free of any infection, will be injected with two rounds of vaccines and monitored for three months before blood and tissue samples are taken. This is similar to the process for testing the vaccine on humans. 

If any of the vaccines yield positive results during the initial human trials, they would then need to undergo pre-clinical trials and then clinical trials. The entire process would be completed a year later. This would put the country on track for a commercially viable COVID-19 vaccine available in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Around the world, 187 companies are developing COVID-19 vaccines, 38 of which have progressed to testing on humans. It has been 63 days since Vietnam recorded a new case of COVID-19 in the community.

[Top image via PXHere]

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