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Update on Asia’s quest for a Covid-19 vaccine



PHOTO: xinhuanet

Partnerships have formed between some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, as well as collaboration between countries as Asia’s best minds are working together in a bid to be the first to create a Covid-19 vaccine. Here is an update on four leading countries in Asia, in the search to find a cure for the notorious Covid-19 virus which was swept the globe.


India’s ability to deliver cost-effective and quality generic drugs, such as those that helped millions to live with HIV, has earned it the reputation of being a “pharmacy of the world”

This quality has raised great importance in the global search for potential treatment options and vaccines for Covid-19.

Indian pharmaceutical companies, for example, rapidly increased the production of hydroxychloroquine in April and are now helping to meet the growing demand for antiviral drugs believed to be aiding Covid-19 patients.


Bionet-Asia, a Thailand-based company, is competing with other companies and institutes around the world to produce a vaccine for the Covid-19 virus. It has diverted all of its resources, including 200 people, to accelerate the development of a gene-based vaccine.

Bionet Chief Executive,  Pham Hong Thai told The Straits Times… “We have already ordered millions of vials even though we don’t know yet if the vaccine will work in humans. In fact, given the constraints on flights around the world, Bionet preferred to ship the vials by air rather than by sea.”

“No one wants to be in a situation where they have the vaccine working in humans but then discover they are missing the passage containers or stoppers to supply the vaccine, So there is a race, there is a restriction, there is a shortage of materials – not only of active ingredients.”

Update on Asia's quest for a Covid-19 vaccine | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Post


In Singapore, they are working on vaccine production capacity, so production can be accelerated quickly and safely once a Covid-19 vaccine is found.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday at the Global Virtual Vaccine Summit, the vaccine production will offer fill-and-finish contract manufacturing services to vaccine developers.

Fill-and-finish processing includes the contamination-free storage of medications in containers such as vials or syringes. It plays a vital role in increasing the production of vaccines for populations because many biopharmaceutical products are unstable and vulnerable to contamination.

Singapore’s innovation in biomedical sciences paid dividends during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the biomedical engineering industry being a bright spot in the struggling economy.

“The demand for healthcare products has not been affected and is generally quite resilient,” said Goh Wan Yee, Senior Vice-President of Health at the Economic Development Board (EDB).

EDB data last month showed that biomedical manufacturing was the main bright spot in Singapore’s manufacturing plant in April.

Update on Asia's quest for a Covid-19 vaccine | News by Thaiger



Indonesia ‘s main pharmaceutical firms and their international partners have entered the race to develop coronavirus vaccines that killed nearly 1,800 people and infected more than 29,000 in the world’s fourth-most populous country.

The state-owned Bio Farma was established in 1890 and is the only vaccine producer in the country. They are also collaborating with the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech to produce a vaccine that should be available in Indonesia early next year.

Dr Neni Nurainy, senior integration manager of Bio Farma’s research and development project, said the cooperation would quickly make the vaccine available in Indonesia, home to some 270 million people.

He added… “Bio Farma will source the active pharmaceutical ingredient from Sinovac, then formulate and do the fill-finish part.”

Update on Asia's quest for a Covid-19 vaccine | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Straits Times


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My name is Anukul, I a writer for the Thaiger, I specialise in translation articles and social media, and assisting with our video production. I previously worked at Phuket Gazette and attended BIS international school in Phuket.

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