A COVID-19 vaccine developed by VABIOTECH Co Ltd, a State-owned vaccine developer under the management of the Ministry of Health—part of a joint venture with Bristol University in the UK—began right when the pandemic started and prior to the availability of the genetic sequencing of the pathogen. It was reported that researchers there are making progress as 50 mice injected with the vaccine remain in good health.
Vaccine Race is on
Nearly 100 research teams are working on vaccines worldwide in the animal testing stage. Several have made it to human trials in nations such as China, United States, and Germany. In the case of the UK, the University of Oxford vaccine is now in an 800-person clinical trial.
Although the South East Asian nation can still be considered developing, it has undergone a fundamental economic transformation—much like China but not on the same scale. Vietnam has been closely monitoring other vaccine efforts. The nation has its own vaccine manufacturing industry however this is the very first time a vector-based vaccine is under development.
To date, four companies are working on a COVID-19 vaccine. However, VABIOTECH is the first such company to make it to the mice stage in pre-clinical research. VABOTECH reports that it would most likely take at least another 8 to 9 months before it could be trialed on bigger animals.
Mice Monitoring: Pre-clinical State in Vietnam
Government-backed VABIOTECH continues to monitor the mice to assess the immune response to SARS-CoV-2. This ongoing study will be conducted in phases including 1) first blood test to be conducted after 14-15 days, and 2) another blood test in 28 days. Throughout, pre-clinical researchers monitor the subjects. Blood samples are sent to the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to be officially evaluated
If the antigen generates positive immune responses, reports Vietnam News, those candidate vaccines will be developed and tested on more animals such as larger mammals like monkeys for further testing. Of course if this goes well, the research team could request to the government permission to test on humans—and hence move the whole study from preclinical into clinical trials.
VABIOTECH is a leading State-Owned Company in Vietnam. The venture belongs to The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) in Hanoi. Since May of 2007, the venture was separated from the NIHE and became an independent company under the direction of the Ministry of Health of Vietnam. By June 2010, VABIOTECH was transformed into a State Owned, One Member Limited Company.
It is one of the leading companies in Vietnam manufacturing, trading, researching, and is developing a wide range of vaccines and biologicals for human use, analyzing samples of new developed vaccines and biological products. They are involved in a number of endeavors from vaccines and biological products to diagnostic kits and pharmaceuticals. See the link for its organization chart.