Vietnam today at a glance
The Ministry of Health announced 7,334 new COVID-19 cases today, raising the national tally to 200,715. More than 198,000 of these are locally transmitted cases, including 196,806 confirmed since April 27, when the fourth outbreak began.
Today’s new COVID-19 infections were found in: HCMC (3,930), Bình Dương (882), Đồng Nai (709), Long An (367), Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu (288), Khánh Hòa (167), Tiền Giang (165), Cần Thơ (141), Tây Ninh (134), Phú Yên (78), Vĩnh Long (62), Bình Thuận (61), Đồng Tháp (60), Bến Tre (49), An Giang (31), Ninh Thuận (22), Sơn La (20), Kiên Giang (17), Bình Định (17), Gia Lai (17), Quảng Bình (15), Lâm Đồng (12), Hải Dương (11), Hà Nội (10), Quảng Nam (10), Hậu Giang (9), Đắk Nông (7), Quảng Ngãi (7), Bạc Liêu (6), Hà Tĩnh (6), Cà Mau (5), Thanh Hóa (4), Thái Bình (4), Lào Cai (4), Bình Phước (2), Ninh Bình (2), Hà Giang (1), Hưng Yên (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 infections.
Vietnam’s death toll is currently at 3,016.
Nanocovax reports 90% protection efficiency, will continue third human trial phase
Vietnamese vaccine Nanocovax is estimated at 90% efficient against the novel coronavirus, clinical trial results at the Ho Chi Minh Pasteur Institute suggest.
Together with HCMC-based developing company Nanogen, the institute is currently the southern region’s designated tester, joined by the Vietnam Military Medical University in the north, as well as the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology as an independent party.
Voice Of Vietnam reports this conclusion comes from a research project that involves diluting and mixing adult volunteers’ blood with the live SARS-CoV-02 virus through plaque reduction neutralization tests in the lab. It was later found that Nanocovax had twice as much neutralizing antibody titer as serum samples of a group of recovered COVID-19 patients did, equivalent to a 90% protection efficiency in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 virus.
This data was then presented as part of a report to Vietnam’s research ethics committee under the Ministry of Health (MOH) at an August 7 morning meeting.
After assessing results from phase one and the first half of phase two, the committee has approved the continuation of Nanocovax’s third human trial phase in four localities: Hanoi, Hung Yen, Tien Giang and Long An.
From initial doses of 25 mcg, 50 mcg and 70 mcg in previous trials, MOH has decided on using doses of 25 mcg for the remainder of third phase, which the ethics committee will revise on August 15.
At the moment, while MOH deems Nanocovax as safe and effective in producing antibodies, it has yet to release an official statement on the local vaccine’s efficiency rate. Deputy Minister Tran Van Thuan suggested the studying of a third dose and the Delta variant when applicable in order to maximize Nanocovax’s efficiency.
Nanocovax, manufactured by Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC, is a protein subunit vaccine. It is Vietnam’s first locally-made vaccine close to completion, having been in the works since May 2020.
It is expected to cost VND120,000 or just over $5 per dose.
According to Nanogen’s General Director Ho Nhan, there have been no cases of complicated reactions or fatalities out of the vaccine’s thousands of tests.
The company has been awaiting approval of conditional emergency use from the Vietnamese government since late June and is hoping to roll out a total of 50 million doses by December 2021.
For Vietnam to better achieve herd immunity, Nanogen also plans to expand Nanocovax trials to children aged 12 and above in the future.
Phase one of clinical trials began in December 2020, phase two in February 2021 and phase three starting June 11, 2021.
As of this writing, notable volunteers who have received at least one dose of Nanocovax include Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Deputy Minister of Science and Techonology Pham Cong Tac and Vietnam’s beloved singer Hong Nhung.
Some provinces namely Binh Duong, Khanh Hoa and Dong Thap have also expressed interest in participating in upcoming trials, to which the Vietnamese government replied it “fully supports as long as commercialization is not involved”.