|A volunteer in Hà Nội is receiving a shot of Nano Covax, the frontrunner in the race for a domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine, as part of the ongoing phase 3 of human trials. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam strives to have at least one successful domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine this year, deputy health minister Trần Văn Thuấn said at a meeting of the special working group on COVID-19 vaccine development and clinical trials on Saturday.
After hearing the general report from the health ministry’s Department of Science, Technology and Training on the current progress of research and clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as well as production technology transfer matters, delegates discussed a plan to invite experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) to support research and development of a COVID-19 vaccine in Việt Nam. This would help the research and clinical trials of Nanocovax and COVIVAC vaccines, two candidates making the most progress in the four under development in Việt Nam. Delegates also agreed on a technology transfer cooperation plan and conducting clinical trials of foreign vaccines that would be licensed for production in Việt Nam.
Deputy minister Thuấn emphasised that a COVID-19 vaccine is a matter of paramount concern to the Vietnamese Party and State leaders. Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính in the latest discussions with WHO also asked for help on made-in-Việt Nam COVID-19 vaccines to ensure vaccine independence.
“The issue is how to make full use of the support from WHO experts in the accreditation of laboratories, the recognition of clinical trial procedures and most importantly the recognition of Việt Nam’s own COVID-19 vaccine towards vaccine self-sufficiency, and furthermore, vaccine exports,” Thuấn continued.
The health official also suggested that members of the Special Working Group work to their best capacity in providing “maximum support to domestic researchers and manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines,” with most flexible and best possible assistance to the ones in need of support.
The National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hà Nội and HCM City Pasteur Institute, two focal points in organising vaccine clinical trials, were asked to proactively prepare the necessary conditions both in terms of human resources, equipment and facilities, etc. to carry out necessary components in trials of transferred vaccines.
The Ministry of Health will soon submit to the Government a plan to use the budget from the National COVID-19 Vaccine Fund to support the implementation of phase 3 clinical trials for domestically developed vaccines as well as transferred vaccines, and request the Government to direct relevant ministries and agencies to coordinate with the health ministry in participating in clinical trial studies to ensure safety, progress and efficiency.
Thuấn asked that members join a Viber group, which will also include the contacts of health ministry’s leaders, to have timely exchanges on matters concerning vaccine research and development.
“Science matters the most in the research and development of domestic COVID-19 vaccines, but flexibility will also be an important issue to consider. We strive to have at least one manufacturer making a successful homegrown COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021 at the earliest,” the health official stressed.
Nanogen, the developer of the Nano Covax vaccine, this week said it has administered the first jab to 13,000 volunteers in its phase 3 human trials, with the second dose expected to be given before end of August, eyeing full clinical data for reviews this year.
The Covivac vaccine, by the Institution of Vaccine and Biological Medical in Nha Trang City, wrapped up phase 1 in late June and plans to carry out phase 2 soon. — VNS