A scientist dedicates spore probiotic products to "made in Vietnam"

Wednesday, 2019-03-20 12:15:53
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Dr. Nguyen Hoa Anh.
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NDO – When Dr. Nguyen Hoa Anh returned home after 15 years of studying and teaching in Japan, he did not imagine that he would encroach on molecular biology one day, with practical products containing billions of "made in Vietnam" spore probiotics.

15 years ago, Dr. Anh went to Japan to study molecular biology, focused mainly on beneficial bacteria in plants. After 15 years working in the academic environment abroad, he returned to Vietnam to work at the Hanoi University of Science (HUS) - a member of the Vietnam National University, Hanoi. He then happened to meet famous scientists from around the world who were coming to Vietnam to seek cooperation on probiotic products for human use.

“At that time, I rethought my scientific path. I began to check the probiotic products on the market and found that the probiotic content was not exactly the same as in advertising. There were many probiotic products that combined with many other types, such as vitamins, digestive enzymes and DHA, or dry probiotic products," said Dr. Anh.

In 2010, Anh and his colleagues, who are biologists, established Anabio Company with the initial aim of applying the outstanding results of the HUS’s Key Laboratory of Enzyme and Protein Technology (KLEPT).

He revealed that in humans, there are about 100 trillion bacterium existing in the mucosa of eyes, lips, ears or intestines, of which 85 trillion are beneficial bacterium and 15 trillion are harmful ones. However, the normal beneficial bacteria when entering the body must cross another fence, which is acid in the stomach. Therefore, if the probiotic product has a low probiotic content such as yogurt, the bacteria will die because of stomach acid, before entering the intestine.

He sought the advantages of SPL spores - a special form of some spore-forming bacteria. Bacterial spore is a form of beneficial bacteria in some strains of microorganisms, which is capable of resisting under 80 degrees Celsius, contributing to the balance of the intestinal microbiological system and supporting the digestive process. Safe microbial spores overcome the acidic environment of the stomach, enter the intestinal microbiological system and germinate to become beneficial bacteria there.

Difficulties stormed in as it is very difficult to produce this spore, and especially difficult to produce in liquid form. However, Dr. Anh was determined to follow the production of liquid spore probiotic products due to their superior properties; they are readily soluble in water, can bloom in the suitable environment, occupy the food of harmful bacteria, and can be transmitted easily through the human body.

Products from probiotic spores have outstanding advantages.

Difficulties again challenged Dr. Anh, when he found his product could not compete in the domestic market. “I thought it would be easy to sell in Vietnam, but at first we had to give up on the Vietnamese market. But luckily, it was very easy to reach the markets in developing countries,” said Dr. Anh.

At first, he exported SPL spore technology to major markets like Pakistan, India, Latin America, and Africa, but after a few years, these countries chose to buy cheaper technology from other suppliers, forcing Dr. Anh to consider to produce "made in Vietnam" products.

In 2014, Anh and his colleagues built a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)-qualified factory and started to produce complete liquid probiotic products, containing multiple highly-concentrated, high-yielding spores that are supportive in treating constipation, diarrhea and ulcerative colitis. Major pharmaceutical companies from Spain, the USA, Greece, Ukraine and Poland singed contracts to purchase his products.

The outstanding advantage in his complete liquid spore probiotic product is that the PSL spore-forming probiotics are in liquid form, containing multi-spore forms of bacillus clausii and bacillus coagulans with concentrations of above 3 billion spores per 5ml, even over 5 billion bacterium/5ml, superior to other products in the world.

"Currently, a large proportion of Vietnamese people are suffering from digestive diseases due to loss of good balance of beneficial bacteria in their intestinal system. Foods can still contain antibiotic and chemical residues - a threat to beneficial spore agents in the intestinal tract, causing intestinal diseases. Therefore, spore probiotics are considered an effective solution to help the body increase the resistance against the abuse of antibiotics,” said Dr. Anh.

In nearly eight years of research and experimentation, more than 80% of spore probiotic products made by Dr. Anh have been exported to a dozen of developing countries around the world. The "made in Hoa Anh" spore probiotic technology is also gradually gaining its foothold in the domestic market. Products marketed are simultaneously and independently tested at the company’s laboratory, as well as at KLEPT.

Currently, his Anabio Company is a manufacturer and a supplier to the market for over five types of super-durable spore probiotics, with superior quality compared to traditional probiotics. “We are studying products that support digestion for people who are in the process of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. From several published products, we are gradually raising the number to over 10 products,” enthusiastically said Dr. Anh. He has also started negotiations with several hospitals and asked the Ministry of Health to license his products as pharmaceuticals.