COVID-19 vaccine testing has begun on monkeys in Vietnam.
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 Reu Island off the northern province of Quang Ninh.
Vu Cong Long, head of the Animal Breeding Farm at the Centre for Research and Production of Vaccines and Biologicals under the ministry, confirmed tests were carried out on October 27.
Vabiotech director Do Tuan Dat said the monkeys are aged between three and five and weigh more than 3kg 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 Hanoi 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.
Meanwhile, a total of 22 healthcare facilities in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) have been approved by the ministry to perform tests for Covid-19 and announce positive cases, according to the city’s 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 Hoan My Sai Gon General Hospital are the private hospitals.
The public ones are the Pasteur Institute in HCMC, Institute of Public Health in HCMC, Southern Military Centre for Preventive Medicine, Cho Ray Hospital, University Medical Centre, Quality Control Centre for Medical Laboratory, Thong Nhat Hospital, 175 Military Hospital, 7A Military Hospital, HCMC Disease Control Centre, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Children Hospital No 1, Municipal Children Hospital, Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital, and the District 2 and Thu Duc hospitals.
The city’s Department of Health has asked health facilities to maintain testing capacity and strictly follow the ministry’s regulations for sample taking, testing procedures and reporting to health authorities.
City-level general hospitals that are incapable of performing real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests are required to make preparations for them by the end of this year.
The ministry has fixed the real-time PCR test at a maximum of 734,000 dong ($32) per sample and the rapid diagnostic test at 238,000 dong.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK