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Vietnam Produces First Test Batch of Sputnik V Covid-19 Vaccine

What will this mean for Vietnam's sluggish vaccination campaign?

Reuters reports that Vietnam's first test batch of Sputnik V, Russia's COVID-19 vaccine, was completed this week. The announcement was made yesterday by Vabiotech, a Vietnamese pharmaceutical company, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia's sovereign wealth fund.

Validation samples from the batch are being sent to the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow for quality control testing.

According to the news source, 30,000 doses were produced in the batch, and test results are expected within the next 30 days. Vabiotech could begin producing up to five million Sputnik V doses per month after testing is completed. 

The Ministry of Health adds on its COVID-19 site that 10,000 of the 30,000 doses were sent to Russia, while the remaining 20,000 will be tested in Vietnam. If testing on both sides is successful, Vietnam and Russia will sign a Memorandum of Understanding, allowing Sputnik V production by Vabiotech to officially begin. 

Currently, RDIF is supplying semi-finished vaccines to Vabiotech, while the company and Vietnam's health ministry are working towards a full transfer of production technology that would allow for 100 million doses to be produced domestically each year.

Thus far, Russia has agreed to supply 20 million Sputnik V doses to Vietnam.

According to data from VnExpress, as of Thursday afternoon, 3.72 million people have received one dose of a vaccine, or 3.8% of Vietnam's population, while only 325,000 people are fully vaccinated.

[Photo via Flickr user International Monetary Fund]