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2 Thai Covid-19 vaccines to proceed to human testing

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Flickr

Out of Thailand’s 7 potential Covid-19 vaccines, 2 have successfully completed the animal testing stage and will proceed to human testing. Dr Nakorn Premsri from the National Vaccine Institute says the 2 vaccines are the mRNA vaccine from the Chula Vaccine Research Centre and BioNet-Asia’s DNA vaccine.

The Chula VRC candidate vaccine is expected to begin human trials in April of next year. It will initially be tested on 72 volunteers aged 18 – 55, and 36 volunteers over the age of 55. Initial tests will be to determine the best dosage, with volunteers subsequently divided into groups of 12 for further tests. Subject to the tests proving successful, the vaccine will move to phase 2 of human testing, involving 600 people in 2 age groups, from June 2021.

Nakorn adds that the BioNet DNA vaccine will begin human trials in Australia, with phase 2 human trials taking place in Thailand early next year.

“BioNet has received a grant from the Australian government to conduct Phase 1 human trials in Australia.”

Meanwhile, Dr Kiat Raxrungtham, from the Vaccine Development Research Centre, says that while BioNet has the raw materials needed for vaccine development, the supply may not be sufficient, with larger organisations having already procured most of the resources. He further cautions that the government’s budget for vaccine development – 300 million baht, distributed in 42 million baht installments – may prove insufficient. Kiat says he believes at least 1 billion baht is necessary and that fundraising among the public may have to take place.

He adds that, following successful phase 1 trials, phase 2 will take place in June. Following phase 2, the results will be analysed to determine safety and efficacy, but there will be no phase 3, as the technology for manufacturing the vaccine has already been developed and verified in other countries. If phase 1 and 2 prove successful, he anticipates the vaccine could go into mass production by late 2021.

Kiat adds that, due to the genetic make-up of Thai citizens, their dosage during the trial phases will differ to that given to non-Thai citizens.

Meanwhile, Nakorn from the NVI says the other 5 vaccines are still at the animal testing stage.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand | Thai PBS World


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