Illustrative image (Source: The Alliance for Natural Health)

Khanh Hoa (VNA) -  Two influenza vaccines IVACFLU-S and IVACFLY, which were successfully produced in Vietnam, were introduced at a workshop held by the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) and the Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) in the central province of Khanh Hoa on September 25.

The vaccines are the results of a project to improve the capacity of developing influenza vaccines in Vietnam, which has been carried out since 2010.

VACFLU-S (seasonal influenza vaccine) provides immunity against the Influenza B virus and the H1N1, H3N2 subtypes of the Influenza A virus, while IVACFLY provides immunity against the H5N1 subtype of the Influenza A virus.

Participants to the event shared guidance and global progammes related to influenza vaccines; international assistance for building policies, regulations and directions of the Ministry of Health on flu vaccines; and summary reports on results of clinical trials of IVACFLY produced by IVAC in the first, second and third phases.

IVAC Director Associate Professor, Dr. Le Van Be said the institute successful conducted clinical trials for the two vaccines.

Both of vaccines are safe, enabling healthy adults to be immune from flu, he said, adding that the vaccines have undergone many clinical trials since 2017.

Since 2010, PATH, an international, non-profit global health organization, has worked with the Vietnamese Ministry of Health to devise a long-term plan on influenza vaccine production and consumption, as well as guidance on clinical trials and vaccine registration. 

Over the 2017-2018 period, the second phases of the vaccine trials for seasonal influenza and A/H5N1 were completed, paving the way for the vaccines to be licensed for commercial use.

Notably, the price of the vaccines will be only one-third of imported ones, standing at 80,000-120,000 VND (3.5-5 USD) per dose.

According to IVAC, at a seminar on seasonal influenza vaccine production in Vietnam which took place in late August, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long announced that locally produced seasonal influenza vaccines had received their first order from the World Health Organisation (WHO), making Vietnam among the 14 countries supplying the preventative treatment.

Influenza is a leading cause of low morbidity and mortality worldwide. Seasonal influenza causes some 250,000-500,000 fatalities and up to five million cases of severe illness across the globe every year.

Vietnam reports more than a million cases of influenza-like illnesses every year and has reported isolated cases of avian influenza A/H5N1 in humans, a strain with a particularly high fatality rate.

The strain is being monitored for any evolution or adaptation that could turn it into an easily-spread form, bolstering against the likelihood of a pandemic. 

The IVAC, established in 1978 by the MoH, plans and carries out the production of vaccines and serums for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation in Vietnam and the overall prevention and treatment of diseases. It also conducts research and applies technological advances in vaccine development and production in cooperation with organisations both inside and outside the country.–VNA