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Human trials start on Thai-developed COVID vaccine

Human trials start on Thai-developed COVID vaccine

THAILAND: Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul confirmed that the government today (Mar 22) started human trials of a domestically-developed COVID-19 vaccine which it expects to roll out next year.

CoronavirusCOVID-19health
By The Phuket News

Monday 22 March 2021, 05:58PM


Dr Nakorn Premsri, director of the National Vaccine Institute, and Dr Lorenz Von Seidlein, a vaccine expert at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), join the forum on “COVID-19 and Thailand’s Vaccine Strategy” at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) in Bangkok on Jan 13. Jonathan Head, the BBC Southeast Asia correspondent and FCCT vice president, moderated the event. Photo: Thana Boonlert.

Dr Nakorn Premsri, director of the National Vaccine Institute, and Dr Lorenz Von Seidlein, a vaccine expert at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), join the forum on “COVID-19 and Thailand’s Vaccine Strategy” at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) in Bangkok on Jan 13. Jonathan Head, the BBC Southeast Asia correspondent and FCCT vice president, moderated the event. Photo: Thana Boonlert.

Anutin said the vaccine would provide more flexibility with the country’s existing vaccine policy.

Thailand is aiming to have half of the adult population inoculated by the end of this year and is currently using vaccines from China’s Sinovac and British-Swedish manufacturer AstraZeneca.

“Even though we can produce vaccines in the country, it is from technology transfer and under management of brands,” Anutin said.

“But today, if we are successful we can set our own direction.”

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO), Mahidol University’s Tropical Medicine Department and an American non-profit are the organisations behind the vaccine development which uses an inactivated virus to trigger immunity.

Dan About Thailand

The vaccine modifies the avian Newcastle Disease virus with a COVID-19 spike protein and is replicated using egg-based technology, the GPO said.

“The vaccine, produced by Thais for Thais, is expected to be used next year,” said Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, chairman of the Mahidol University Council.

Bangjong Mahaisavariya, the dean of Mahidol University, confirmed 460 volunteers will be accepted for the human trials with 210 being used in phase one. It is expected phase two will commence in July with results received by year’s-end.

An additional homegrown vaccine is under development by Chulalongkorn University which uses Messenger RNA (mRNA) technology and is expected to start human trials soon.

Amid tight global supplies and concerns around certain vaccines already available, certain countries such as Japan and Taiwan have turned to developing their own; Vietnam expects its home-developed vaccine to be available before the end of this year.

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