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Việt Nam tests COVID-19 vaccine on monkeys

COVID-19 vaccine testing has begun in Việt Nam on monkeys.

The Vaccine and Biological Production Company (Vabiotech) under the Ministry of Health started trials on 12 rhesus macaques, a kind of monkey of the Macaca mulatta family.

The trials took place on Rêu Island off the northern province of Quảng Ninh.

Vũ Công Long, head of the Animal Breeding Farm at the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals under the Ministry of Health, confirmed tests were carried out on October 27.

Vabiotech director Đỗ Tuấn Đạt said the monkeys are aged between three and five and weigh more than three kilograms each. They had their health checked and are not infected with any diseases, he said.

After being vaccinated, the monkeys will be monitored for three months. Then, their blood samples will be taken and sent to Hà Nội for further analysis.

The monkeys will be tested in two periods. In each period, they will be divided into two groups, with one being vaccinated and the other not vaccinated. After that, they will be monitored daily on separate islands.

The testing will follow a similar model that may be performed on people. The animals will be injected with the vaccine twice, with the shots being 18-21 days apart.

A month after the second shot, researchers will assess their immune response to see the effects between the injected and non-injected groups.

In June, Vabiotech tested the vaccine on mice.

A representative data was collected from the mice tests and scientists will continue testing the vaccine on other animals.

The results of the testing on monkeys will be a foundation for the next stage and proposal to test the vaccine on people.

New facilities to perform COVID-19 testing

Meanwhile, a total of 22 healthcare facilities in HCM City have been approved by the Ministry of Health to perform tests for COVID-19 and announce positive cases, according to the city Department of Health.

They include 17 public health facilities, three private hospitals and animal health offices No 6 and No 7.

FV Hospital, Gia An 115 Hospital and Hoàn Mỹ Sài Gòn General Hospital are the private hospitals.

The public ones are the Pasteur Institute in HCM City, Institute of Public Health in HCM City, Southern Military Centre for Preventive Medicine, Chợ Rẫy Hospital, University Medical Centre, Quality Control Centre for Medical Laboratory, Thống Nhất Hospital, 175 Military Hospital, 7A Military Hospital, HCM City Disease Control Centre, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Children Hospital No.1, Municipal Children Hospital, Nguyễn Tri Phương Hospital, Phạm Ngọc Thạch Hospital, and the district 2 and Thủ Đức hospitals.

The city’s Department of Health has asked health facilities to maintain testing capacity and strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s regulations for sample taking, testing procedures and reporting to health authorities.

City-level general hospitals that are incapable of performing real time RT–PCR tests are required to make preparations for them by the end of this year.

The Ministry of Health has fixed the Real-time PCR test at a maximum of VNĐ734,000 (US$32) per sample and the rapid diagnostic test at VNĐ238,000. — VNS

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