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COVID vaccine ready ‘next year’

COVID vaccine ready ‘next year’

THAILAND: CU-Cov19 - a novel coronavirus vaccine being developed by a Thai research team in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania - is expected to enter mass production by the end of the third quarter next year, the research team said yesterday (July 12).

By Bangkok Post

Monday 13 July 2020, 08:44AM

Photo: Bangkok Post Graphics.

Photo: Bangkok Post Graphics.

Non-human primates which received a second dose of the vaccine displayed high levels of COVID-19 antibodies, which the research team called an encouraging sign in light of the upcoming human trials scheduled in October, the team said.

The research team - led by Kiat Ruxrungtham of the Chula Vaccine Research Centre - made the remark at a press conference charting progress in their work. The team has been testing Cu-Cov19, an mRNA vaccine, on 13 macaques at Chulalongkorn University’s National Primate Research Centre in Saraburi.

The result has led to high hopes that the country can successfully produce its own vaccine against COVID-19 by the third quarter of next year. BioNet Asia, the centre’s partner, is expected to produce “millions” of doses by the end of next year, said Dr Kiat.

Chutitorn Ketloy, a research team member, said macaques which were vaccinated between May and June seem to have developed immunity against COVID-19, with their antibody levels reaching up to 5,120 after receiving the second dose.

Mice injected with the vaccine registered antibody levels of up to 40,960, suggesting that the vaccine’s effect decreases as the size of the test subject increases, the researcher added.

“This is a significant result, as we now understand that the antibody response will drop by 5-10 times when the vaccine is administered on humans,” said Dr Kiat.

“But even with such a decrease, immunity to the disease can be achieved as long as the antibody response measures above 1,000, which is the level we hope to see in the [human] trial.”

According to him, the first phase of human trials is going to begin in October, followed by the second phase from December to March 2021. As the third phase of human trials requires over 10,000 participants for the results to be valid, Thailand - due to its relatively low number of cases - will seek the cooperation of Brazil, India and Indonesia to carry out the tests.

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“However, the third phase can be skipped altogether if the United States’ Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approves another mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 before ours,” said Dr Kiat.

He said the US FDA could exercise its Emergency Use Authorisation rule to produce vaccines in Thailand under the regulation and supervision of Thailand’s FDA.

If the US FDA approves a vaccine before Thailand, Thai plants can mass-produce the vaccines by the third quarter of next year, he said.

To effectively control an outbreak, at least half of an entire country’s population will need to be vaccinated, which means Thailand will need at least 70 million doses.

If local plants are not able to churn out enough vaccines to cover the demand, the government will seek Indonesia’s cooperation to help co-produce the vaccine, said Dr Kiat.

It is estimated that around two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be produced by the end of next year - which is unlikely to be enough to meet the global demand.

“In 2009, Thailand failed to secure swine flu vaccine in time due to the drug’s limited production run, even though it was paid for in advance. The vaccine arrived when the crisis was already over,” Dr Kiat said.

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CaptainJack69 | 14 July 2020 - 11:21:56

1. Nobody said anything about each person needing 2 doses. That would be unusual and you could argue that 2 doses equals 1 treatment so... you know... 'words'

2. We only need enough for half the population in order to achieve enough immunity to forget about this 'new normal' bollox and get on with our lives.

Pascale | 14 July 2020 - 10:56:14

"3 Million are paper phantom doses.Meaning commission doses" OMG Kurt,what a load of rubbish again. And you are slow on your  population figures again. Actually the population is around 69,8 millions right now.But as you live in the past, no surprise here !

DeKaaskopp | 13 July 2020 - 16:24:28

@Capt.Jack  Maybe because a person needs 2 doses of vaccine !?!
@Kurt  How many countries are working on a vaccine ? Are you the one who decides who should develop the vaccine ?

Kurt | 13 July 2020 - 16:03:30

@CaptainJack. Thai population is around 67 million now. 70 Million vaccine doses looks correct administration wise. 3 Million are paper phantom doses. Meaning commission doses. The Swine Flue thing in 2009 failed, but not the money transactions that time, so let's repeat the financial procedure. By the way were went the 2009 budget after all?

Shwe | 13 July 2020 - 12:23:25

so Thailand is closed for at least another year

CaptainJack69 | 13 July 2020 - 12:01:15

Thailand's population is usually estimated at 66 million. Why does 50% coverage need 70 million doses?

Kurt | 13 July 2020 - 10:21:04

As world wide several countries already are in human vaccine testing phase, it is going to look that Thailand repeats the 2009 story (swine flu vaccine).  Again getting paid in advance and coming on market to late? Let Thailand share with/teach the world how to contain the virus, it is good in that, but leave vaccine development to those who are already much further with it.


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