After five years of construction, the Health Ministry’s Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) inaugurated a flu vaccine plant in south central Khanh Hoa Province on Thursday. It is the first of its kind in Vietnam.
The plant, located in Suoi Dau Commune, Cam Lam District, was built under a project funded by the World Health Organization (WHO) to study and produce influenza vaccines at a capacity of 1-3 million doses per year.
The plant’s production lines for the vaccines have been certified by the ministry as meeting the WHO’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Standards.
The plant will first produce vaccines against H1N1 and H5N1 flu viruses, which have recently been prepared and tested successfully by the IVAC under the WHO-funded project launched in 2008.
The H1N1 virus caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009. It is now a human seasonal flu virus that also circulates in pigs. The virus spreads between people in the same way that seasonal flu viruses spread.
H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza (“bird flu”).
Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60 percent, according to the WHO.
The IVAC is one of the first six health facilities in developing countries that have been given access to influenza vaccine production technology under WHO’s Global Action Plan (GAP), aimed at strengthening vaccine production capacity for pandemic prevention.
After successfully preparing the two above-mentioned vaccines, the IVAC is now conducting trials of another vaccine for the H7N9 flu virus, said Dr Le Van Be, head of the Institute.