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“Made-in-Vietnam” COVID-19 vaccine expected within nine months

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The country is expected to market a “Made-in-Vietnam” vaccine for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within the next nine to 12 months due to the vaccine research and manufacturing project enjoying strong progress, according to researchers.

MSc Mac Van Trong is confident Vietnam is able to produce quality vaccine against the coronavirus sought after by many countries worldwide

MSc Mac Van Trong from the Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 (VABIOTECH) under the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, said the project launched by him and his partners has so far achieved initial success, with the candidate vaccine recording high immunity levels.

“Our four-month long efforts have paid off,” Trong told VOV as he described the test results of the project which has gone on to receive financial support from VinGroup, the nation’s largest private investor, in addition to assistance from colleagues at the University of Bristol in the UK.

The latest major step in the project came on both May 15 and May 29 as researchers transferred two batches of serum samples taken from 50 vaccinated mice to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) to undergo evaluation. Following this, positive news came from the NIHE several days later as the serum samples had given antibody responses, some of which even recorded high antibody levels.

After recording these results, VABIOTECH has now completed its first phase a full two months ahead of schedule with the actions widely being considered to be the most important stage in the research and production of a COVID-19 vaccine. In the next stage of its creation, the candidate vaccine will be developed into a complete product which is safe for human use.

The research team is now poised to develop a commercial production process that is capable of meeting the demand of churning out millions or even tens of millions of doses of the vaccine.

VABIOTECH researchers are working hard on the first COVID-19 vaccine production project, hoping the vaccine will be available for human use in 9-12 months

Similarly to colleagues from many countries globally, Vietnamese researchers are racing against time in an effort to manufacture their own vaccine against the COVID-19. The race is even more crucial as the world is facing the threat of a possible second wave of infection.

“It takes us nine to 12 months to produce a complete vaccine, but we are working hard to cut short the process,” Trong said. “However, 18 or 24 months would be really impressive figures when compared to the 10 year average it usually takes to produce a complete vaccine.”

According to the VABIOTECH representative, the project’s ambitious goal is not only to produce the long-awaited vaccine, but to also increase Vietnamese autonomy in terms of vaccine production, especially in the scenario that the pandemic strikes.

“If a new strain of coronavirus that is capable of causing another human pandemic emerges in the future, with the technology available, it will be possible to produce a new vaccine in a short space of time,” he said.

“It’s worth remembering that when the influenza A/H1N1 pandemic broke out previously, the vaccine was in short supply. Getting one dose of the vaccine was hard, not to mention buying millions of doses. Therefore, the vaccine initiative of a country is very important”, the researcher explained.

“Vietnam has excelled as a global bright spot in COVID-19 prevention and control. We pin high hopes on the following successes, including the “Made-in-Vietnam” COVID-19 vaccine production,” said Dr. Do Tuan Dat, director of the VABIOTECH. VOV

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/made-in-vietnam-covid-19-vaccine-expected-within-nine-months-652276.html

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Ho Chi Minh City seeks permission to culture novel coronavirus

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Ho Chi Minh City authorities have proposed that the Hospital for Tropical Diseases be allowed to culture the novel coronavirus to better assess herd immunity.

During a working session on Tuesday, Dr. Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, deputy director of the municipal Department of Health, asked the Ministry of Health to allow the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases to culture the SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory.

The clinical research unit of the University of Oxford, which has been participating in the genome sequencing process at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, has a biosafety level-three laboratory.

This facility meets international biosafety standards and has its safety inspected by the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health. 

The lab has been used to culture viruses such as multi-resistant tuberculosis and influenza.

If allowed to culture the coronavirus, the southern city will be able to better assess herd immunity, according to Dr. Chau.

The evaluation of herd immunity in the city was previously based on antibody concentration and the use of some techniques to replace neutralization reaction, the official elaborated.

However, the neutralization reaction is the most accurate method to evaluate protective antibodies.

To conduct a neutralization reaction, a live virus must be mixed with the serum, Chau stated.

At the meeting, a representative from the Ministry of Health stated that the number of COVID-19 cases in Ho Chi Minh City has been decreasing drastically.

However, the city must not let its guard down as new coronavirus variants could have entered the local community during the recent Lunar New Year holiday, posing a high risk for the elderly and unvaccinated people.

Municipal authorities should have recommendations on pandemic prevention at local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, pagodas, and festival places to minimize the spread of the virus in case a new variant is recorded.

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Ho Chi Minh City authorities have proposed that the Hospital for Tropical Diseases be allowed to culture the novel coronavirus to better assess herd immunity.

During a working session on Tuesday, Dr. Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, deputy director of the municipal Department of Health, asked the Ministry of Health to allow the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases to culture the SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory.

The clinical research unit of the University of Oxford, which has been participating in the genome sequencing process at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, has a biosafety level-three laboratory.

This facility meets international biosafety standards and has its safety inspected by the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health. 

The lab has been used to culture viruses such as multi-resistant tuberculosis and influenza.

If allowed to culture the coronavirus, the southern city will be able to better assess herd immunity, according to Dr. Chau.

The evaluation of herd immunity in the city was previously based on antibody concentration and the use of some techniques to replace neutralization reaction, the official elaborated.

However, the neutralization reaction is the most accurate method to evaluate protective antibodies.

To conduct a neutralization reaction, a live virus must be mixed with the serum, Chau stated.

At the meeting, a representative from the Ministry of Health stated that the number of COVID-19 cases in Ho Chi Minh City has been decreasing drastically.

However, the city must not let its guard down as new coronavirus variants could have entered the local community during the recent Lunar New Year holiday, posing a high risk for the elderly and unvaccinated people.

Municipal authorities should have recommendations on pandemic prevention at local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, pagodas, and festival places to minimize the spread of the virus in case a new variant is recorded.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230201/ho-chi-minh-city-seeks-permission-to-culture-novel-coronavirus/71255.html

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S.Korea tops list of foreign visitors to Vietnam in first month of 2023

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South Korea is the country accounting for the highest number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first month of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The number of international tourist arrivals in Vietnam in January 2023 amounted to more than 871,000, making an increase of 23.2 percent compared to December last year, the GSO reported recently.

Among the total, some 259,000 travelers were from South Korea, placing the Northeastern Asian country in the first position on the list of international arrivals to Vietnam last month.  

Ranking second was the U.S. with nearly 77,900 tourists and the third place went to Thailand with some 55,000 travelers.

The fourth and fifth positions belonged to Australia and Japan with about 44,000 and 34,000 visitors, respectively.

This image shows a member of the group of 120 South Korean tourists being offered flowers by a local receptionist when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, in south-central Vietnam, on January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

This image shows a member of a group of 120 South Korean tourists getting flowers when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam, January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

International travelers to Vietnam by air occupied the largest portion, at 91.9 percent, while those by road and by sea represented 7.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, the GSO said.

The figure of foreign arrivals to Vietnam in January 2023 rose 44.2 percent from a year earlier, but it fell 42 percent compared to the same period of 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to hit the Southeast Asian country. 

Last month saw numbers of visitors to Vietnam from China and Russia, two of Vietnam’s major sources of tourists, reach nearly 47,000 and 12,000, respectively, far lower than over 660,000 and 36,000 in the same period in 2019, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Total tourism revenue in January neared VND46 trillion (US$1.96 billion), lower than the expected monthly average of VND54 trillion ($2.3 billion) for 2023.

The tourism sector has set a goal of welcoming about eight million international visitors in 2023, equal to 45 percent of the 2019 target, the VNAT said.

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South Korea is the country accounting for the highest number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first month of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The number of international tourist arrivals in Vietnam in January 2023 amounted to more than 871,000, making an increase of 23.2 percent compared to December last year, the GSO reported recently.

Among the total, some 259,000 travelers were from South Korea, placing the Northeastern Asian country in the first position on the list of international arrivals to Vietnam last month.  

Ranking second was the U.S. with nearly 77,900 tourists and the third place went to Thailand with some 55,000 travelers.

The fourth and fifth positions belonged to Australia and Japan with about 44,000 and 34,000 visitors, respectively.

This image shows a member of the group of 120 South Korean tourists being offered flowers by a local receptionist when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, in south-central Vietnam, on January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

This image shows a member of a group of 120 South Korean tourists getting flowers when they arrived in Khanh Hoa Province, south-central Vietnam, January 1, 2023. Photo: Minh Chien / Tien Phong

International travelers to Vietnam by air occupied the largest portion, at 91.9 percent, while those by road and by sea represented 7.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, the GSO said.

The figure of foreign arrivals to Vietnam in January 2023 rose 44.2 percent from a year earlier, but it fell 42 percent compared to the same period of 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to hit the Southeast Asian country. 

Last month saw numbers of visitors to Vietnam from China and Russia, two of Vietnam’s major sources of tourists, reach nearly 47,000 and 12,000, respectively, far lower than over 660,000 and 36,000 in the same period in 2019, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Total tourism revenue in January neared VND46 trillion (US$1.96 billion), lower than the expected monthly average of VND54 trillion ($2.3 billion) for 2023.

The tourism sector has set a goal of welcoming about eight million international visitors in 2023, equal to 45 percent of the 2019 target, the VNAT said.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230201/skorea-tops-list-of-foreign-visitors-to-vietnam-in-first-month-of-2023/71250.html

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Work starts on operation building for Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line

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The groundbreaking for the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line was held on Tuesday.

Upon completion, the operation and management (O&M) building will be the headquarters for Ho Chi Minh City No.1 Urban Railway Company with the primary function of operating the entirety of metro line No. 1.

The facility is located at Long Binh depot in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.

The construction of the city’s first metro line is about 94 percent complete, Nguyen Quoc Hien, an official from the municipal Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), the project developer, said at the ceremony.

The developer, contractor, and consulting team are working hard to complete the remaining categories and prepare for technical test operation of the metro route in 2023, Hien continued.

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building covers an area of more than 1,500 square meters, has two stories, and has a lifespan of 100 years.

The construction is expected to last for nine months.

This year marks an important phase of the project as it will be the transition from the construction of the metro line to the official operation of the route in 2024, according to Hien.

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong stated that 2022 marked many memorable milestones of metro line No. 1, especially the trial operation of the elevated section from Suoi Tien Terminal to Binh Thai Station.

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building is a very important ‘piece’ for the whole project, Cuong stressed.

The official requested that relevant units ensure the progress of the project and put it into operation in 2024.

The city’s first metro line is 19.7 kilometers long, including 2.6 kilometers of underground railway and 17.1 kilometers of elevated track.

It runs from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City through three underground stations and 11 stops above the ground.

The project broke ground in August 2012 at a cost of VND43,700 billion (US$1.86 billion), most of which comes from Japan’s official development assistance loans.

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The groundbreaking for the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line was held on Tuesday.

Upon completion, the operation and management (O&M) building will be the headquarters for Ho Chi Minh City No.1 Urban Railway Company with the primary function of operating the entirety of metro line No. 1.

The facility is located at Long Binh depot in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.

The construction of the city’s first metro line is about 94 percent complete, Nguyen Quoc Hien, an official from the municipal Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), the project developer, said at the ceremony.

The developer, contractor, and consulting team are working hard to complete the remaining categories and prepare for technical test operation of the metro route in 2023, Hien continued.

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The groundbreaking of the operation and management building of Ho Chi Minh City’s first metro line, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building covers an area of more than 1,500 square meters, has two stories, and has a lifespan of 100 years.

The construction is expected to last for nine months.

This year marks an important phase of the project as it will be the transition from the construction of the metro line to the official operation of the route in 2024, according to Hien.

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong stated that 2022 marked many memorable milestones of metro line No. 1, especially the trial operation of the elevated section from Suoi Tien Terminal to Binh Thai Station.

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

Vice-chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Bui Xuan Cuong greets workers at the construction site, January 31, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tien Phong

The O&M building is a very important ‘piece’ for the whole project, Cuong stressed.

The official requested that relevant units ensure the progress of the project and put it into operation in 2024.

The city’s first metro line is 19.7 kilometers long, including 2.6 kilometers of underground railway and 17.1 kilometers of elevated track.

It runs from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in Thu Duc City through three underground stations and 11 stops above the ground.

The project broke ground in August 2012 at a cost of VND43,700 billion (US$1.86 billion), most of which comes from Japan’s official development assistance loans.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230201/work-starts-on-operation-building-for-ho-chi-minh-citys-first-metro-line/71248.html

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