Vietnam is expected to test its homemade novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine on humans soon, as it has already showed positive results in mice.
VABIOTECH, a state-owned firm managed by the Ministry of Health, began developing the vaccine in February, after the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) was able to isolate and culture the novel coronavirus in the laboratory.
The vaccine has been tested on eight groups of mice, of which four have been confirmed by the NIHE to have developed antibody response.
“Under current conditions, the vaccine is expected to be trialed on animals again in four to nine months before moving on to human testing,” Do Tuan Dat, director of VABIOTECH, said without elaborating on the human trial date.
“If the tests are successful, it will take another two to three months for stages of [vaccine] production to complete.”
Scientists across the world have been using three technologies to develop COVID-19 vaccines, according to Prof. Dang Duc Anh, head of the NIHE.
The first type, which is called inactivated vaccine, is made in China, Anh stated, adding that the East Asian country is now conducting the first phase of human trial.
The results have showed relatively good immune response.
However, the production of the vaccine requires certain facilities such as a level-three biosafety lab, a condition difficult to meet.
The second technology, which uses viral vectors, is being applied in Vietnam and some other countries, Anh continued.
“The antigen of the novel coronavirus is added to a benign virus before being injected into subjects,” he elaborated.
The third is gene technology, which is being used in the U.S., the UK, and several other nations, Anh added.
Vietnam’s COVID-19 tally stands at 355, with 335 having recovered as of Wednesday, according to Ministry of Health statistics.
No deaths from the disease have been recorded in the Southeast Asian country.