Developing the achievements of the project awarded the 2019 Tran Dai Nghia Award “Research and development of technological process for the production of avian influenza subtype A/H5N1 vaccine in Vietnam” in the field of vaccine research for the livestock industry in our country

Vietnam, with the highest biodiversity in the world, is considered a place with important conditions for the development of the agricultural industry. However, for many years, our country's agriculture has been in a state of small and fragmented production, with low efficiency and low competitiveness. Therefore, in order to promote agriculture to develop more effectively and sustainably, the Prime Minister issued the "Project on restructuring the agricultural sector towards increasing added value and sustainable development" in 2013.

The actual implementation of the project has shown the industry restructuring through increasing the proportion of livestock and aquaculture, making livestock the main production industry in line with the trend of shifting agriculture in line with the value law.  To develop the livestock industry, we need to solve important issues such as breeds, feed and vaccines. In particular, vaccines against diseases in order to ensure the safety of livestock and poultry are extremely important issues in the sustainable development of the livestock industry.

Livestock vaccination is a proactive and effective disease prevention measure, both ensuring sustainable livestock development as well as providing safe food for consumers and protecting the ecological environment. 

Avian influenza is an acute infectious disease of birds, including poultry and waterfowl. In 2003, A/H5N1 influenza brought about an epidemic in most provinces and cities in our country. It has caused considerable damage not only to poultry (loss of trillions VND, bad social effects, undercutting Government’s efforts in poverty alleviation), but also spread to human with severe clinical symptoms and high mortality. On a global scale, A/H5N1 influenza has spread with no signs of stopping, in Asia, Europe and Africa. In view of this ongoing reality, Institute of Biotechnology (VAST) proposed and got permission from the Ministry of Science and Technology to allow the implementation of the project “Research and development of technological process for production of influenza A/H5N1 vaccine for poultry” implemented in 2006. Under the direction of Prof. Le Tran Binh (former Director), Assoc. Prof. Dinh Duy Khang along with many key staff of Biotechnology Institute have successfully researched the technological process for avian influenza vaccine production based on attenuated virus strain created by reverse genetic engineering by international scientists and transferred to the Institute of Biotechnology. Scientists from the Institute of Biotechnology have successfully built a process to propagate attenuated virus using chicken egg embryos for avian influenza H5N1 vaccine. After that, the Institute collaborated with Dr. Tran Xuan Hanh (Deputy General Director) to organize trial production at NAVETCO Central Veterinary Medicine Joint Stock Company, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. From 2006 - 2011, NAVETCO Company successfully produced H5N1 avian influenza vaccine (trade name is Navet-Vifluvac) inactivated oil emulsion and has been allowed by the Department of Animal Health (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) to produce and use. 

In order from left to right: Assoc.Prof.Dr. Dinh Duy Khang; Prof.Dr. Le Tran Binh; Dr. Tran Xuan Hanh

This is the first avian influenza vaccine successfully researched and produced by Vietnam. This vaccine has the same effect as the imported vaccine and has been produced in hundreds of millions of doses to replace the previous vaccine imported from China. The vaccine has a very high HI titer, can protect chickens and ducks more than 6 months and can be injected into 1-3 day old chicks and adult chickens. 

NAVET-Vifluvac products (left) and Vaccine production technology line (right)

On the basis of the results of the work, President of VAST awarded the 2019 Tran Dai Nghia Prize for the work “Research and development of technological process for the production of avian influenza subtype A/H5N1 vaccine in Vietnam” with 3 representative authors of the research team: Prof. Le Tran Binh, Assoc. Prof.  Dinh Duy Khang, and Dr. Tran Xuan Hanh. This is a work that perfectly meets the criteria of the Tran Dai Nghia Award:

+ In terms of science: Mastering advanced technologies and new techniques in molecular biology in the world to produce avian influenza vaccines suitable to the conditions in Vietnam.
+ In terms of practicality: Actively create vaccine sources to avoid dependence on imports, balance the trade balance as well as ensure sustainable development of the livestock industry and agriculture restructuring of our country. 

Besides, the result of the project is also a sustainable connection between managers - scientists - businesses, bringing economic, social and environmental benefits to farm community. 

Up to now, based on the technology transferred by the Institute of Biotechnology, NAVETCO Central Veterinary Medicine Joint Stock Company has actively produced virus-derived strains to produce many vaccines to prevent influenza subtype H5N1, Clade 1, Clade and Clade for chickens, ducks, geese, quails in Vietnam. 

The awarded project “Research and development of technological process for the production of avian influenza subtype A/H5N1 vaccine in Vietnam” is the first work to successfully researching H5N1 avian influenza vaccine implemented by Institute of Biotechnology and has been successfully applied to production on an industrial scale. NAVETCO Company is a unit licensed by the Department of Animal Health (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) to produce and circulate in 2012, and since then, hundreds of millions of doses of NAVET-VFLUVAC flu vaccine have been produced, making an important contribution to the prevention of avian influenza in Vietnam. From the research project in 2006 to the experimental production project of the influenza A/H5N1 vaccine in 2019, we have successfully produced the oil-inactivated H5N1 avian influenza vaccine with quality in terms of: physical, sterility, safety, potency.

This success is a testament to the effective cooperation between research institutes and scientific and technological production facilities. Currently with a team of scientific and technical staff with extensive experience in research of  Institute of Biotechnology and a team of technical staff of NAVETCO in vaccine production, as well as the company's existing specialized equipment, the proactive production of H5N1 avian influenza vaccines with quality used on an industrial scale, towards production to completely replace imported vaccines to serve the flu vaccination for domestic poultry flocks in our country in the future. 

This work is a clear demonstration of studying according to the example of Prof. Acad. Tran Dai Nghia: High-level scientific research but focusing on practical application and passion for future generations so that the flow of science and technology will never stop.

Translated by Phuong Ha
Link to Vietnamese version

Related news