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Vietnam seeks volunteers for human trial of COVID-19 vaccine

Wednesday, December 09, 2020, 14:32 GMT+7
Vietnam seeks volunteers for human trial of COVID-19 vaccine
Scientists are seen during the development of a COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

More details on volunteer selection will be revealed before human clinical tests of a made-in-Vietnam COVID-19 vaccine take place on December 17, a representative of the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.

Following reports on the coming human clinical trial of the domestically manufactured COVID-19 vaccine in Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, many readers have reached out and expressed interest in being a volunteer for the experiment.

Answering Tuoi Tre, Nguyen Ngo Quang, deputy director of the Department of Science, Technology and Training under the Ministry of Health, said the ministry approves of and encourages the public to sign up for the trial rounds of the vaccine.

Safety first

“The most important thing is to ensure safety, which is why the clinical tests should be implemented in gradual steps to evaluate immunogenicity and safety levels [of the vaccine] before mass launching. Around 40-60 volunteers will be needed for phase one, which may rise to 600 in the second phase,” Quang said.

Quang also revealed that other details of the testing program, including criteria to select volunteers, registration methods, as well as a detailed step-by-step plan for testing, will be submitted to a council of ethics under the ministry for appraisal before being made public.

These details will lay the framework for the launch of the human testing phase of the vaccine, which is slated for December 17.

“Vaccine volunteers must have good health conditions, not face any chronic or infectious disease, and have no medical record of drug allergy. Volunteers would also be subjected to thorough medical screening before selection,” Quang elaborated.

A representative of Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, the first COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer approved to implement human tests, said the first trial phase will be implemented on 20 to 60 volunteers by the Vietnam Military Medical University.

The pharmaceutical firm is preparing to recruit some 600 volunteers for the second phase, which will prove critical to the future of their vaccine product.

Other hopes

According to Do Tuan Dat, director of state-owned Vaccine and Biological Production Company No. 1 (VABIOTECH), their own development of a COVID-19 vaccine is seeing positive results.

Back in April, a VABIOTECH vaccine prototype showed 100 percent effectiveness when tested on lab rats after two injections in a span of 21 days.

The company is completing paperwork and documents for a human clinical test in March 2021.

Aside from VABIOTECH and Nanogen, two other COVID-19 vaccine solutions are under development at the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) and the Center for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (Polyvac).

The former is also working to implement human tests in February 2021.

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Xuan Tung - L.Anh / Tuoi Tre News

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