The Institute for Vaccines and Medical Biologicals under the Health Ministry has stepped up its efforts to produce an effective vaccine guarding against the H1N1 flu virus and hopes to be distributing it en masse by late 2014 or early 2015.
With approval from the Health Ministry, the institute conducted the first trial of its vaccine, A/H1N1/09, on 48 healthy people in Ben Luc district, southern Long An province from April to November 2012 to assess the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety.
The trial achieved positive results as expected, so now the institute seeking the ministry’s permission to conduct a second trial on 200-300 people.
If everything continues to go smoothly, the last trial will be carried out on an additional 1,000 people before production en masse will be permitted; and that at the earliest, won’t be until late next year or early 2015, said Duong Huu Thai, deputy head of the institute.
Each trial will last six months, during which every aspects of the vaccine will be examined and assessed, he added.
The price of H1N1 vaccine produced by the institute is going to be only one-third of the price of imported vaccines, Thai said.
The H1N1 flu virus caused a world-wide 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 other seasonal flu viruses spread.
So far this year the virus has caused at least four deaths in Vietnam.
The institute has also been assigned by the ministry to produce another vaccine against the H5N1 avian flu virus and has received a funding of about US$3 million from the Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).