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Vietnam gets closer to COVID-19 vaccine

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A vaccine for COVID-19 that is being developed by State-owned vaccine manufacturer VABIOTECH Co., Ltd. could generate relatively high immune response, according to the company chairman Do Tuan Dat.

Vietnam gets closer to COVID-19 vaccine
Researcher Mac Van Trong works at a lab of UK’s Bristol University. — Photo suckheodoisong.vn

On May 15 and May 29, two batches of samples of 50 mice injected with the COVID-19 candidate vaccine were sent to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE).

Comparing the mice serum injected with the inactivated wild-type virus, the NIHE determined that these serum samples gave antibody responses, some of which were relatively high.

“This is a foundation to develop a completed vaccine,” said Nguyen Le Khanh Hang, vice head of the Virus Department under the NIHE.

Mac Van Trong, a researcher from VABIOTECH, said the results which were released in mid-June proved they were on right track to develop the COVID-19 vaccine and that four months of restless work was starting to bear fruit.

VABIOTECH has finished the first phase of the vaccine development two months early, Trong said, adding that this phase was the most important in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In the next phase, the candidate vaccine would be completed and stabilised to meet requirements for human use.

The research team would also develop procedures for commercial production of up to dozens of millions of doses, Sức khoẻ & Đời sống (Health and Life) newspaper reported on Friday.

“It takes about nine to 12 months to complete the candidate vaccine,” Trong said, adding that his team was trying their best to shorten the time needed.

“On average, it takes 10 years to develop and produce a vaccine. So, it is a great achievement to find a vaccine in a period of 18-24 months,” Trong said.

The COVID-19 vaccine development project not only gives birth to a new vaccine but more importantly, it would help Vietnam be more active in vaccine production in response to pandemics.

In the future, in case a new strain of coronavirus causes another disease for humans, with the available technology, researchers just replace the gene of the current one with the gene of the new strain, so it would soon produce a new vaccine.

Dat said while Vietnam itself has a vaccine manufacturing industry, this is the first time a vector-based vaccine is being developed, so plenty of caution is needed.

For this method, researchers use the SARS-CoV-2 antigen to insert into another pathogenic virus that has been weakened to be introduced into the immunised subjects, which hopefully would trigger the body to generate antibodies that are capable of defending against the onslaught of the actual full-fledged virus.

The antigen, the core part of a vaccine, works well and can elicit a good immune response from the test subjects.

If the antigen generates good immune responses, candidate vaccines will be developed and tested on a wider range of animals – especially in larger mammals like monkeys – to test the immune responses before going onto clinical trials on humans.  VNS

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/vietnam-gets-closer-to-covid-19-vaccine-652638.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.

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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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4 undersea Internet cables face problems, affecting Vietnam’s international connections

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Four out of the five submarine Internet cable systems connecting Vietnam to the world are facing problems, with the latest failure recorded on Saturday, seriously affecting users’ international connections, an Internet service provider (ISP) said.

The Intra Asia (IA) cable system encountered problems on January 28 when a cable breakage happened about 130 kilometers from a shoreline station in Singapore, leading to a total loss of international data from Vietnam to the city-state, the ISP said.

This system, with a total length of 6,800 kilometers, has been in operation since November 2009 to connect Internet users in Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. 

It also served as an important route for Internet data transit to the Americas and Europe from users in Vietnam and other regional countries.

On January 21, the APG cable system faced an incident on its S9 branch connecting to Singapore, interrupting the connection between Vietnam and Singapore and Japan.

This line runs about 10,400 kilometers underwater across the Pacific Ocean, linking Vietnam with mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Two other undersea cable routes, AAG and AAE-1, have had troubles since the end of 2022 and have not been fixed yet. 

In addition to these five lines, Vietnam is hooked up to two other submarine Internet cables, SJC2 and ADC, but they are not yet officially operational, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported. 

The latest incident means that Vietnam currently has only one undersea cable line left, the SMW3, to link the country to the world.

However, this system is outdated and is about to be discarded, according to ISPs.

The failure of the four cable systems has seriously affected the speed of Vietnam’s international Internet connections.

ISPs said they have deployed routing solutions to overland cable lines, as well as implementing other contingency plans, to minimize the impacts on domestic users.

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Four out of the five submarine Internet cable systems connecting Vietnam to the world are facing problems, with the latest failure recorded on Saturday, seriously affecting users’ international connections, an Internet service provider (ISP) said.

The Intra Asia (IA) cable system encountered problems on January 28 when a cable breakage happened about 130 kilometers from a shoreline station in Singapore, leading to a total loss of international data from Vietnam to the city-state, the ISP said.

This system, with a total length of 6,800 kilometers, has been in operation since November 2009 to connect Internet users in Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Vietnam. 

It also served as an important route for Internet data transit to the Americas and Europe from users in Vietnam and other regional countries.

On January 21, the APG cable system faced an incident on its S9 branch connecting to Singapore, interrupting the connection between Vietnam and Singapore and Japan.

This line runs about 10,400 kilometers underwater across the Pacific Ocean, linking Vietnam with mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Two other undersea cable routes, AAG and AAE-1, have had troubles since the end of 2022 and have not been fixed yet. 

In addition to these five lines, Vietnam is hooked up to two other submarine Internet cables, SJC2 and ADC, but they are not yet officially operational, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported. 

The latest incident means that Vietnam currently has only one undersea cable line left, the SMW3, to link the country to the world.

However, this system is outdated and is about to be discarded, according to ISPs.

The failure of the four cable systems has seriously affected the speed of Vietnam’s international Internet connections.

ISPs said they have deployed routing solutions to overland cable lines, as well as implementing other contingency plans, to minimize the impacts on domestic users.

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

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20230131/4-undersea-internet-cables-face-problems-affecting-vietnams-international-connections/71241.html

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