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Vietnam starts Covid-19 vaccine trials on monkeys

The State-owned Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No. 1 (VABIOTECH) has started trials of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine on rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) on Reu Island off the northern province of Quang Ninh.

Do Tuan Dat, VABIOTECH Director, said that 12 healthy monkeys aged 3-5 years old have been selected from natural herds on the island. These animals weigh more than 3 kg and have been checked for disease very carefully.

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VABIOTECH successfully experimented its candidate Covid-19 vaccine on mice last June.

According to Vu Cong Long, Head of the Animal Breeding Farm at the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals (Ministry of Health), the vaccination of the monkeys was carried out on October 27.

Following injection, the monkeys are monitored for about three months, thereafter they will be sampled to send the specimens to Hanoi for testing.

According to the plan, 12 monkeys will be tested in two rounds of vaccinations. In each round, they will be divided into two groups, including those given injections and those who were not. After injection, the monkeys will be separated on the island and monitored daily.

The injection on monkeys will closely resemble the model intended for deployment to humans, that is two injections with each shot given every 21 to 28 days.

After one month, researchers will look at the immunised monkey's immune response to see the immunological effect between the injected and the non-injected groups.

Last June, VABIOTECH performed vaccine trials on mice.

A representative from the company said that the trial on these animals has been conducted in parallel to collect sufficient data.

Trials on monkeys are only one part of the whole process and scientists will have to continue to experiment on other animals, while conducting laboratory analyses on protective effects and immunogenicity.

The trial results on monkeys will form the basis for the next step before any suggestion of human trials.

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Source: NDO

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