Vietnam’s COVID-19 Vaccine Prototype Proved Effective On Mice, Further Testing To Follow

COVID-19 in Vietnam, update on 29th June 2020

Vietnam enters its 74th consecutive day without new COVID-19 community transmissions today, as all new registered cases since 16th April have been imported from overseas and quarantined upon entry.

But while Vietnam has managed to keep the COVID-19 situation under control, the pandemic remains a major global threat. With millions still infected and no effective treatment available at the moment, the world is racing to develop a cure.

Vietnam has not been idle in that regard either. Ever since February, scientists in the country have been working hard to create a vaccine for COVID-19. It seems their effort is starting to bear fruit, as the latest vaccine prototype testing on mice has proven to be a success.

Vaccine prototype effective on mice

VABIOTECH staff working on the vaccine prototype
Image credit: Ministry of Health

Last Friday, VABIOTECH, a medical firm in Hanoi working under the Ministry of Health, gave us the good news that their COVID-19 vaccine prototype has yielded promising results when tested on mice.

VABIOTECH initiated the project to develop a COVID-19 vaccine back in February and started testing on mice in late April. Last month, two batches of blood samples from the 50 test subjects were sent to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology on 15th and 29th May for evaluation, and now, the institute has confirmed that these samples have produced strong antibody responses.

Dr. Nguyễn Lê Khánh Hằng, deputy head of the Viral Department at the Institute, asserted that given the promising result, the prototype would serve as the foundation to develop a fully functional vaccine in the future.

VABIOTECH will now continue their trials on animals on a larger scale before developing a more stable version of the vaccine that’s safe to test on human volunteers. A representative from the firm has said that it’d take at least 9 to 12 more months to create a complete vaccine.

3 new COVID-19 cases reported in Vietnam over the weekend

Vietnam is continuously making efforts to bring back citizens from overseas
Image credit: Vietnam Airlines

On its evening update on Friday, the Ministry of Health announced one additional COVID-19 case. This is a 31-year-old man who returned from Cameroon and landed at the Tân Sơn Nhất Airport in Hồ Chí Minh City on 25th June.

A day later, two women returning from Kuwait on 18th June, aged 43 and 48 respectively, were also reported as the latest COVID-19 patients in Vietnam. So far, the country has recorded a total of 355 COVID-19 infections.

All patients were quarantined upon their entry to Vietnam, so they pose no threat to public health.

6 new recoveries bring Vietnam’s total count to 335

The 27-year-old male patient who was discharged on Friday taking pictures with medical staff from the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases
Image credit: National Hospital of Tropical Diseases

This morning, the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases announced that it is preparing to discharge 5 COVID-19 patients who have recovered. They are all Vietnamese citizens repatriated from various countries including Kuwait, Finland, and Switzerland this month.

Prior, on Friday, a 27-year-old male patient who was hospitalized on 17th May after returning from Russia was also declared free of the virus.

Taking into account the 5 patients who are going to be discharged today, Vietnam’s total recovery count is currently sitting at 335, leaving the country with only 20 active cases.

Meanwhile, Patient 91 continues to improve from his formerly critical condition and is currently going through comprehensive rehabilitation to recover his health and strength after months of being comatose. As the man has expressed his wish to go home, the British Embassy in Vietnam has suggested sending him back to the UK on a Vietnam Airlines flight on 12th July.

Vietnam’s COVID-19 update on 29th June 2020

It is a reassuring sign that despite having successfully contained the COVID-19 outbreak, Vietnam has not dropped its guard and is still working hard to contribute to the fight against the pandemic on a global scale. If a vaccine can be developed, it’ll surely be a major step forward in keeping everyone safe.

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Cover image adapted from Ministry of Health and Vietnam Airlines

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Toan Ngo

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