Human Testing of Vietnamese H5N1 Vaccine Starts

The first phase of the human testing of Vietnamese made H5N1 influenza vaccine officially began Saturday, marking a big step for the country in achieving its goal of protecting humans from the deadly virus.

A volunteer vaccinated for testing (Photo: SGGP)

Twenty four students of the Military Medical Institute, of which seven are female, and six officials of the institute have volunteered to participate in the testing.

All volunteers expressed their wish to contribute to the country’s fight against bird flu and anticipated that the experiment would be a success. This success would facilitate the vaccine’s use with the general public and put an end to the epidemic.

According to PhD. Doan Huy Hong, Head of the institute’s Epidemiological Department, the first phase of the experiment will last for 56 days and will test the vaccine’s safety level. Directly after receiving the first shot of the vaccine, the volunteers will undergo regular medical check-ups and three blood tests to search for the antigen.

On the 28th day after the vaccination, the 30 volunteers will be injected with the second shot of the vaccine and receive regular medical check-ups and three blood tests thereafter.

PhD. Hong stressed that the second phase of the experiment will be carried out on a larger scale with the number of volunteers reaching 240 people. They will be chosen from 400 people from 18 to 30 years old and will undergo testing over a 90 day period to help scientists evaluate the vaccine’s capacity to produce antibodies against the avian influenza H5N1 virus.

Previously, the Vaccine and Bio-Technology Products Company No. 1 has announced their laboratory’s production of five batches equivalent to 100,000 dozes of H5N1 vaccine and has conducted animal testing on 20 monkeys. The results show that the monkeys’ immune system produces the appropriate antibodies after the vaccine was injected and all of the monkeys remained healthy, said Dr. Nguyen Thu Van, the company’s Director.

In addition, the tests performed on the first ten officials of the Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, who received two shots of H5N1 vaccine last month, showed positive results, she added.

However, Dr. Van noted that the previous experiments on monkeys and ten people are only a preparation for the large-scale human testing that began yesterday. If the Military Medical Institute’s testing proves to be successful, the H5N1 vaccine will be mass produced by the middle of next year, she added. 

Related article:
Human Testing Will Determine Fate of H5N1 Vaccine

By Khanh Nguyen – Translated by Khanh Hong

Other news