Lao govt, Chinese firm mull production of Covid-19 vaccine

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The government is in talks with a Chinese pharmaceutical company about the possibility of producing a Covid-19 vaccine in Laos.

Minister of Health Dr Bounfeng Phoummalaysith and a representative of China’s Stemirna Therapeutics, Ding Yuefan, met recently to discuss the venture, according to the Centre of Information and Education for Health.

The two sides discussed the possible construction of a factory in Laos where the vaccine would be produced and distributed throughout the country.

The factory would be a central facility for the production of vaccine and also for the storage of imported vaccines.

The proposed venture would be a huge boost to Laos in its efforts to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak, with Lao citizens benefiting from easier access to vaccine.

If approved, the vaccine ingredients would be imported, processed and tested on volunteers in Laos, and then manufactured by Pharmaceutical Factory No. 3, a Lao state enterprise.

An anonymous official at the Healthcare and Rehabilitation Department under the Ministry of Health said the name of the vaccine was not yet known and it is not clear whether it is the Sinopharm vaccine.

However, if the project comes to fruition, it would enable Laos’ vaccination programme to be rolled out much faster than at present, he said.

During their talks, Dr Bounfeng and the representative of Stemirna Therapeutics also discussed cooperation to improve the professional knowledge and skills of medical staff and upgrade equipment at Lao hospitals where people who have contracted Covid-19 are undergoing observation or treatment.

They agreed that medical experts from both countries would partner in efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 through the use of vaccine.

Stemirna Therapeutics was founded by a group of Chinese researchers and scholars in Shanghai in 2016.

Stemirna Therapeutics is the first biotech firm in China to introduce mRNA therapeutics using a high-end nanoparticle formulation platform and carrying out continual research and invention so they can deliver more effective healthcare and therapeutic solutions.

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