|Patients suffering from diarrhea receive treatment in a Ha Noi hospital last summer. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam has become the fourth country in the world and the second in Southeast Asia to produce an anti-diarrhea vaccine for children.
Research done to manufacture the Rotavin-M1 vaccine has been successful, said Le Thi Luan, deputy director of the Ministry of Health (MoH)'s Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals
The Rotavin-M1 was produced from the cell of an African blue monkey's (Macaca Mulatta) kidney. To have a clean source of monkeys for research and production of the vaccine, MoH set up a facility on Reu Island in the northern province of Quang Ninh for the purpose of breeding and supplying them.
The project, which began in 1998, focused on the creation of the Rota virus for the purpose of developing a vaccine and designing a production process, said Luan.
"The quality of the vaccine is equivalent to Belgium's Rotarix vaccine, which has been used in Viet Nam," she said.
Each dose of the domestic vaccine would cost around VND200,000 (US$9.5), one-third that of imported vaccines.
The homemade vaccine was tested on thirty adults and 1,000 children aged from 12 weeks to six years for the past three years in northern Phu Tho Province's Thanh Son District and Thai Binh Province's Thai Binh City. Test results showed the vaccine was safe for both adults and children.
The vaccine has been evaluated by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and approved for use by the National Institute for Control of Vaccines and Biologicals.
The health ministry granted a product license for the vaccine to be sold in the domestic market last May. So far some 100,000 children in 60 provinces and cities have received the vaccine, Luan said.
If the vaccine is used in the national immunisation programme, the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals can supply about 4.5 million of doses per year, she said.
The Rotavin-M1 vaccine must be given to the children orally, not injected. The first dose should be given when the children are between six and ten months old, and the booster dose two months after the first.
Diarrhea caused by the Rota virus is an acute intestinal inflammation.
In Viet Nam, more than 50 per cent of children under five-years-old suffer from the disease each year, according to Ministry of Health statistics. About 5,300-6,800 children under five years are estimated to die of the disease each year. — VNS