Vietnam expects to produce Covid-19 medicine by late 2021

Photo caption: Dr. Le Quang Huan and other researchers in the lab. (Photo by VAST)

Dr. Le Quang Huan and other researchers in the lab. (Photo by VAST)

By Phong Lan

Deputy Head of the World News Desk Dantri 

HANOI: Vietnamese scientists have successfully produced antiviral medication called Vipdervir that is expected to be used for Covid-19 treatment by the end of this year.

At a meeting held on August 10, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health announced that Vipdervir has proved to be safe and effective in inhibiting the growth of SARS-CoV-2.

According to the ministry, the medicine has been developed by a team from the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) led by Assoc. Prof. & Dr. Le Quang Huan.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Huan shared that Vipdervir is extracted and synthesized from medicinal herbs that are available in Vietnam.

According to the scientist, the medicine can prevent the virus from sticking to the host cell, making it impossible to penetrate into the host cell.

“Vipdervir can also inhibit the virus from multiplying in the cell, and can activate immune cells so that they recognize, block and eliminate virions,” he said.

The drug has been tested on rabbits that has proved to be safe and prevented the growth of H5N1 and SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

On August 7, the Ethics Council under the Ministry of Health highly appreciated the research by the team and approved their plan to carry out human clinical trials of the Vipdervir pills.

This is the first drug made of medicinal herbs that has been licensed for clinical trials for Covid-19 treatment in Vietnam.

Vietnam on August 5 received the first batch of 50,000 Remdesivir bottles that will be used to treat seriously ill Covid-19 patients. This is the first batch of the 1 million doses of Remdesivir that India has agreed to deliver to Vietnam.

Remdesivir has been used to treat COVID-19 patients at some medical facilities in Vietnam and the results showed that the drug helped patients reduce their viral load quickly.

Vietnam is struggling to deal with the fourth Covid-19 wave, the largest ever outbreak reported so far. Daily patient counts have increased to between 8,000-9,000 in some recent days that are mostly in the epicentre of Ho Chi Minh City. Hospitals in the city have been overloaded and the death rate is rising.

As of Wednesday morning, the country confirmed 232,937 COVID-19 infections. While 80,348 patients have recovered, the number of fatalities has reached 4,145.

The country has so far administered over 11.34 million Covid-19 vaccine shots, with over one million people having received two doses.

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