VND20 billion offered for home-grown COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial study

Saturday, 2021-02-27 18:59:14
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Vingroup funding of VND20 billion for the COVIVAC vaccine clinical trial study. (Photo: NDO/Minh Hoang)
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NDO – Conglomerate Vingroup has awarded VND20 billion to the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) for clinical trials and study of its locally-made COVID-19 vaccine COVIVAC.

>>> First 35 volunteers receive injections of home-grown COVID-19 vaccine in second-stage trial

The award ceremony was held at the Ministry of Health’s headquarters in Hanoi on the morning of February 27.

The COVIVAC vaccine research and production project was launched by IVAC (under the Ministry of Health) in May 2020, on the basis of cooperation with the relevant universities, research institutes and international organisations.

IVAC Director Dr. Duong Huu Thai said that COVIVAC is a liquid vaccine with or without adjuvants, without preservatives, and the production technology using the Newcastle disease virus (NDV) vaccine vector with the S gene of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine attached to produce vaccines in chicken eggs containing embryos. This technology is also used to produce vaccines to prevent seasonal flus circulating in Vietnam.

The results of pre-clinical studies in India, the USA and Vietnam have shown both safety and efficacy.

After seven months of study (May to December last year), IVAC has successfully produced three consecutive batches on a large scale, with 50,000-100,000 doses per batch. The vaccine batches for clinical trials have been assessed for quality by the manufacturers and the National Institute for Control of Vaccines and Biologicals, which has certified six batches of finished vaccines. COVIVAC has also undergone preclinical tests for toxicity, immune response, and protective effects on domestic and foreign laboratory animals.

The COVIVAC vaccine phase 1 and phase 2 clinical research protocols have been approved by the National Ethical Council in Biomedical Research and the Ethical Councils at grassroots level. IVAC is expected to start conducting clinical trials this March and the process is due to be completed in October.

Notably, the cost of this vaccine will be less than VND60,000 per dose. Currently, IVAC is upgrading existing factories to improve production capacity once entering large-scale production.

Speaking at the ceremony, Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said the event is a meaningful activity to speed up the clinical trials of made-in-Vietnam COVID-19 vaccines. Vietnam will now have even more opportunities to fully and comprehensively evaluate the feasibility of the COVIVAC vaccine.

The head of the health sector expressed his belief that the sector would achieve good results in the COVID-19 vaccine research, leading to autonomy in this kind of vaccine for Vietnam.

Vingroup is one among several pioneering companies in the prevention and control of COVID-19. It contributed more than VND1.2 trillion in 2020 manufacturing breathing machines, offering medical equipment and chemicals for testing, funding research in rapid response to the epidemic and paying gratitude to frontline doctors who fight against COVID-19.