Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhanadirek, said yesterday (June 30) the Prime Minister has emphasised that domestic vaccine development and technology transfer are the foundation of Thailand’s move towards self-reliance in vaccines, which will help the country save on vaccine imports, and present opportunities for vaccine exports in the future.
There are currently four COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed in Thailand, using different platforms and each at a different stage of research and trials.
The first Thai-made COVID-19 vaccine candidate to enter human trials is the NDV-HXP-S vaccine, developed by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) and the Faculty of Tropical Medicine at Mahidol University. Developed in cooperation with PATH Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access; this vaccine is the vaccine also being trialed in Vietnam and Brazil.
If successful, the vaccine candidate can easily be produced at the GPO’s existing facilities using chicken eggs, similar to the current flu vaccines.
The second vaccine candidate, which entered Phase 1 clinical trials on June 14, is an mRNA vaccine from Chulalongkorn University’s Center of Excellence in Vaccine Research and Development (Chula VRC). This vaccine candidate is developed on the mRNA platform, similar to Pfizer and Moderna, however with the advantage of being capable of up to 3 months storage at 2-8 degrees C, or up to 2 weeks at 25C.
Earlier trials with rats and monkeys show this vaccine candidate can help elicit a high antibody response, while the mRNA platform allows for a quick deployment and manufacturing of an updated vaccine to address newer variants.
The third vaccine candidate is a DNA vaccine developed by BioNet-Asia. The company is filing for human trials approval from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), following its trial in rats. The company is expected to conduct Phases 2 and 3 trials this year, with another Phase 1 trial in Australia conducted simultaneously.
Another vaccine candidate is the plant-based protein subunit vaccine by Baiya Phytopharm, a startup from Chulalongkorn University, which has successfully developed a vaccine prototype using tobacco leaves to create the antigen protein needed. Clinical trials of this vaccine candidate are expected to start in August-September.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has promised to complete the 6 million doses delivery being made by Siam Bioscience to the Thai government, while the 1.05 million doses AstraZeneca jabs donated by the Japanese government arrived yesterday.