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Vietnam tests COVID-19 vaccine on 60 people

Thursday, December 17, 2020, 16:46 GMT+7
Vietnam tests COVID-19 vaccine on 60 people
Reporters gather at the Vietnam Military Medical University when a man is injected with Nanocovax, the first locally made COVID-19 vaccine, in Hanoi, December 17, 2020. Photo: Viet Dung / Tuoi Tre

The human trial of a made-in-Vietnam COVID-19 vaccine was conducted on 60 volunteers by the Vietnam Military Medical University in Hanoi on Thursday morning.

Developed by Ho Chi Minh City-based Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, the vaccine – named Nanocovax – already underwent animal trials and was assessed by a Vietnamese and foreign agency.

This is the first vaccine made in Vietnam to have been tested on humans.

A total of 300 people of different ages had registered to be volunteers on the vaccine test, with 60 people chosen eventually.

The 60 people were injected with three kinds of doses of 25 micrograms (mcg), 50mcg and 75mcg to find the optimal dose in the first phase of the vaccine test.

The volunteers injected on Thursday morning will be looked after in two separate rooms for males and females, which are monitored by three officers each, at the Vietnam Military Medical University in the next 72 hours following their jabs.

“When the volunteers return to their residences, we will coordinate with local health workers to ensure the sample is homogeneous and accurately assessed about the safety of the vaccine,” said Nguyen Ngo Quang, deputy head of the Ministry of Health's Administration of Science, Technology and Training.

The second shots will be injected on these volunteers 28 days later.

Furniture inside a room where volunteers injected with Nanocovax, the first made-in-Vietnam COVID-19 vaccine, are monitored in Hanoi, December 17, 2020. Photo: Viet Dung / Tuoi Tre

Furniture inside a room where volunteers injected with Nanocovax, the first made-in-Vietnam COVID-19 vaccine, are monitored in Hanoi, December 17, 2020. Photo: Viet Dung / Tuoi Tre

Do Quyet, director of the Vietnam Military Medical University, affirmed that his unit has prepared their best for the vaccine trial and is ready to respond to any adverse reaction in the 60 volunteers.

At the same time, Quyet reassured the volunteers that Nanocovax has a complete safety record in pre-clinical trials.

After Thursday's trial, the Vietnam Military Medical University will continue the second phase of testing Nanocovax on humans, with the expected participation of 400-600 people.

The third phase, anticipated to take place in August 2021, will be conducted on 10,000 candidates in Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, and Indonesia with the assistance of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health.

The vaccine is expected to cost VND120,000 ($5.17) per dose once it is officially allowed for mass production.

Nanogen said that it is capable of providing five million doses of Nanocovax every month.

After Nanocovax, the vaccines developed by the IVAC and Vabiotech are expected to have their human trials in February and March 2021, respectively.

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