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Domestic vaccine developers request funding

Domestic vaccine developers request funding

BANGKOK: Researchers behind domestic vaccine efforts need B3 billion in assistance each from the government to support their vaccine research and development projects so the jabs can be rolled out before April.

CoronavirusCOVID-19healthVaccine
By Bangkok Post

Friday 20 August 2021, 09:06AM


Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visits Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital to monitor a system set up to look after COVID-19 patients in home isolation. He was also shown progress in the development of the ChulaCOV-19 vaccine developed by Chulalongkorn University’s research team. Photo: Somchai Poomlard

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visits Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital to monitor a system set up to look after COVID-19 patients in home isolation. He was also shown progress in the development of the ChulaCOV-19 vaccine developed by Chulalongkorn University’s research team. Photo: Somchai Poomlard

Dr Kiat Ruxrungtham, leader of the research team behind Chula-VAC001, under Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, made the remarks as he welcomed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who visited the university to inspect progress in the development of its vaccine.

“Currently, there are four vaccines being developed in Thailand. But how can we get them registered before Songkran next year, or April 2022? If we want this, a fund of at least B3 billion should be set up for each vaccine,” he said.

“Vaccine management also should bypass bureaucratic red tape including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Clear regulations must be in place by September so we can see what hurdles lie ahead,” Dr Kiat said.

Without the FDA’s regulations, the vaccines cannot be registered for use next year because manufacturing plants must ramp up production and orders must be placed for the vaccines beforehand, Dr Kiat said.

Gen Prayut said the government has followed progress in work on the Thai-made vaccines which might be used as booster shots for Thais next year. He said he wanted the research teams to do their best.

If there are problems with the rollout of the main vaccines currently in use, the locally developed vaccines should be able to fill the void, said Gen Prayut.

Currently, the government has allocated B400 million for their development, he added.

Regarding the FDA’s regulations, the issue must be discussed with the FDA, Gen Prayut said.

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“It is impossible to bypass the [bureaucratic] system, but we must think of how to fast-track things. As for budgets, the government must be responsible for explaining the spending. Everything must follow regulations,” Gen Prayut said.

The research team behind Chula-VAC001 recently announced the vaccine’s success in its first phase of human trials. Dr Kiat said 36 out of 72 volunteers, aged 18-75, received the Chula-VAC001 vaccine and exhibited no serious side effects afterwards. It was also found the ChulaCOV-19 vaccine has a high efficacy rate in preventing COVID-19 infection - at 94%, the same as Pfizer’s vaccine, Dr Kiat said.

Results obtained one week after the second dose showed it has an 80% efficacy rate against variants such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, he said. After the success of the first-phase human trial, the team expects to start the second phase on 150 volunteers next week, he said.

He added that “Phase 2b” will follow in October with 5,000 volunteers using a combination of vaccines from overseas and BioNet Asia. However, the team needs to see a clear management plan for next year.

A research team from the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) has also launched the second phase of its egg-based NDV-HXP-S vaccine on 250 volunteers aged 18-72. The GPO hopes to produce 30 million doses annually starting in the middle of next year.

A plant-based COVID-19 vaccine, known as “Baiya Vaccine”, is set to start its first phase of clinical trials next month with 100 volunteers taking part.

It is being developed by Baiya Phytopharm Co, a local pharmaceutical startup under Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. A DNA-type vaccine is also being developed by BioNet-Asia. Co.

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Malc-thai | 20 August 2021 - 12:23:51

They state the want to vaccinate before songkram, but will not start production until middle of next year! They also say they will produce 30 million doses per year.. thats 2.5 million a month.. thats less a month than the leaked AstraZeneca contract of ordering 3 million a month

Kurt | 20 August 2021 - 10:37:37

Dr Kiat talks about bypassing the corrupt Thai red tape bureaucracy, including FDA. Now we know why country's vaccination time process is a disaster. The normal Corruption happening, one of the lungs of the Thai society. Why finding out the vaccine wheels here again at costs of billions? Just buy the vaccine formulas/production license  from USA and start producing here.

Fascinated | 20 August 2021 - 09:48:41

B12bn for 'research when existing vaccines can be produced under licence (well they could be if better organised)?Seems like ego drived 'look we have produced our own vaccines' as opposed to a sensible option. Seems like a nice little earner. How many doses would that B12m purchase? Its about time a certain company showed its benevolence and donated vaccines to the nation- its old boss...

 

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