The Thai government is budgeting 600 million baht to purchase supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine currently being worked on at Oxford University in the UK. Trials look promising so far, with the vaccine triggering a strong immune response among volunteers. Production is expected to start before the end of the year. In Thailand, a vaccine being developed at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University has been successfully tested on primates, with plans to have it ready for humans by the middle of next year.
Nation Thailand reports that the Deputy Health Minister, Sathit Pitutecha, says he’s already been in touch with Oxford University about purchasing doses of their vaccine, adding that other countries, such as South Korea, are doing the same. He stresses the importance of an effective vaccine to enable people to live without fear.
“We cannot live with panic. Our public health system is well prepared. The important point is that Covid-19 is contagious and must be strictly controlled until vaccines are developed.”
Thailand continues to report no cases of community transmission of the virus, but the closure of its borders is having a devastating effect on an economy so reliant on tourism. Sathit says the country must be allowed to reopen to visitors from countries deemed “low risk”.
He admits the recent case of an Egyptian soldier testing positive for the virus while in the eastern province of Rayong has damaged the public’s confidence. However, he adds that that confidence is gradually being restored, saying Rayong is now considered 99% safe and will be considered 100% safe once 14 days have passed with no new case of Covid-19 being recorded. A further round of testing starts in the province today.
SOURCE: Nation Thailand
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