Vietnam Develops Herbal Drug For COVID Treatment, 3rd Homegrown Vaccine To Begin Clinical Trials | Vietcetera
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Vietnam Develops Herbal Drug For COVID Treatment, 3rd Homegrown Vaccine To Begin Clinical Trials

Two more made-in-Vietnam medical advancements to combat the country’s grueling fourth COVID-19 wave.

Vietnamese COVID-19 drug VIPDERVIR. | Source: Ministry of Health

Vietnam continues its vaccination drive in hard-hit localities, including Ho Chi Minh City. | Source: Shutterstock

Vietnam today at a glance

The Ministry of Health announced 8,390 new COVID-19 cases today, raising the national tally to 228,135. More than 225,000 of these are locally transmitted cases, including 224,198 confirmed since April 27, when the fourth outbreak began.

Today’s new COVID-19 infections were found in: HCMC (3.956), Bình Dương (1.325), Long An (890), Đồng Nai (732), Nghệ An (128), Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu (109), Cần Thơ (106), Tây Ninh (102), Đồng Tháp (101), Tiền Giang (100), Đà Nẵng (74), Sóc Trăng (64), Bình Thuận (63), Ninh Thuận (61), Hà Nội (61), Bến Tre (58), Đắk Lắk (55), An Giang (53), Vĩnh Long (52),  Bến Tre (49), Gia Lai (43), Phú Yên (37), Kiên Giang (29), Hậu Giang (19), Lâm Đồng (18), Đắk Nông (17), Hà Tĩnh (15), Lào Cai (12), Quảng Ngãi (11), Hải Dương (8 ), Quảng Nam (8 ), Trà Vinh (8 ), Thừa Thiên Huế (5), Bạc Liêu (4), Thái Bình (4), Cà Mau (2), Sơn La (2), Bắc Giang (2), Nam Định (1), Quảng Bình (1).

Out of all 62 cities and provinces, Quảng Ninh and Bắc Kạn are the only two having gone at least 14 days without new domestic infections.

Vietnam’s death toll is currently at 4,145. 

New local herbal drug for COVID-19 treatment

An antiviral drug developed by researchers at the Vietnam Institute of Biotechnology in Hanoi has been approved for clinical trials by the Ministry of Health. 

The medicine is called VIPDERVIR and made with 100% local herbal ingredients. Preclinical trials of VIPDERVIR on animals suggest it can inhibit SARS-CoV-2’s growth. 

Vietnamese COVID-19 drug VIPDERVIR. | Source: Ministry of Health

“The drug’s acute and sub-acute toxicity were tested at the National Institute of Drug Quality Control and the Hanoi Medical University.

Its ability to inhibit the growth of the H5N1 virus was tested at the Institute of Biotechnology, and that of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and Hanoi Medical University. The tests were done on rabbits.

"The results showed that VIPDERVIR is safe and effective in inhibiting the growth of the H5N1 and SARS-CoV-2 viruses, and in boosting immunity, when tested on animals,” reads a statement by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.

The goal is to develop a drug able to treat RNA viruses, most notably COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2. If successful, VIPDERVIR is expected to be prescribed to mild and moderate COVID-19 cases.

Third homegrown vaccine to be tested on humans

About 100 volunteers are currently needed for ARCT-154, Vietnam’s third homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, in its first round of clinical trials starting August 15.

ARCT-154 is the result of a technology transfer from USA’s Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc. to Vietnam’s VinBioCare under conglomerate giant Vingroup. Vietnam News reports the latter has established a manufacturing facility in Hanoi for the vaccine. 

ARCT-154 will need to pass a total of three clinical trial stages at Hanoi Medical University, Ho Chi Minh City’s Pasteur Institute and Vietnam Military Medical University before it can apply to be considered for emergency use in the country. Up to 21,000 healthy adult volunteers are expected to participate in these trials. 

If everything goes as planned, Vietnam will see ARCT-154’s first batch roll out beginning early 2022. 

Previous homegrown vaccines to have been approved for clinical trials in Vietnam include Nanocovax and Covivac