Vietnam's leading private conglomerate Vingroup will build a plant capable of producing up to 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses per year under a U.S. technology transfer, amid the country's efforts to secure enough jabs for slowing COVID-19 infections.
The vaccine plant will be constructed under a technology transfer agreement that Vingroup made with U.S.-based Arcturus Therapeutics, a company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutics for rare diseases and vaccines.
The plant, to be located at the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park in Hanoi's Thach That District, will have a designed capacity of between 100 and 200 million doses a year.
The mRNA-based vaccine developed by Arcturus is expected to undergo clinical human trials in August in Vietnam before being produced, the Ministry of Health said.
If everything goes smoothly, the vaccine will be on the market next year.
Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which needs to be stored at temperatures of minus 75 to minus 85 degrees Celsius, the Arcturus vaccine may be stored at two to eight degrees Celsius.
Along with this vaccine, another vaccine will also be made available thanks to an agreement between the two Vietnamese developers, AIC and Vabiotech, and their Singaporean partner, Shionog.
In addition, Vietnam is currently developing two vaccines of its own, namely Nano Covax, and Covivax, which are developed by Ho Chi Minh City-based Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology JSC and the Nha Trang Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, respectively.
Currently, Vietnam is accelerating its vaccination campaign that aims to inoculate 70 percent of its 98 million population to reach herd immunity against the novel coronavirus.
The campaign needs to have 150 million vaccine doses but the country has so far received only about 15 million doses in total from different sources, including COVAX Facility, contractual purchases, and donations, the health ministry said.
As of Friday morning, more than 5.5 million COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered nationwide, with the number of people receiving the first and second shots nearing five million and some 546,000, respectively, the ministry reported.
Since the pandemic hit the country in early 2020, Vietnam has registered 133,405 patients, including 131,192 domestic and 2,213 imported cases, of which 31,780 have recovered.
Among the domestic infections, as many as 119,863 cases, or 98.7 percent, have been recorded since April 27, when the pandemic's fourth wave erupted in Vietnam.
During this wave, Ho Chi Minh City has become the largest epicenter in Vietnam, with nearly 85,300 cases, including 1,057 deaths, according to the municipal Center for Disease Control.
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