Thai COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by early next year: health minister
BANGKOK, June 25, 2020 (BSS/XINHUA) – Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health on Thursday said in a press briefing that Thailand may start its first COVID-19 vaccine production by early 2021.
“The health ministry is working with a Thai-French biotech firm (Bionet-Asia) to develop a DNA-type vaccine for COVID-19,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, “also the latest tests on mice show a significant antibody response.”
“We are preparing samples for inspection by the Department of Medical Sciences and will later apply for human trials with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” Anutin said.
“If the FDA is happy with the results in July to September, the vaccine should be ready for public use by early 2021,” the minister said.
Anutin said Thailand could be among the first countries to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine, and will be sharing the formula with the rest of the world, with Thai people amongst first to receive the vaccine.
Bionet-Asia president Withoon Wonghankul said he is currently seeking FDA permission to begin simultaneous monkey and human trials of the prototype vaccine, which should help fast-track the process.
Anutin said that usually, vaccine trials must be approved and completed in steps, from mice to monkeys and then humans.
“However in the case of COVID-19, which is an urgent matter, I am confident that the FDA will allow trials on monkeys and humans to start simultaneously,” the minister said.
The Ministry of Public Health reported that it had already launched research on six types of prototype COVID-19 vaccines.
They are DNA, mRNA, protein subunit, Virus Like Particle (VLP), inactivated virus and viral vector.
Since the pandemic, several public and private organizations have joined hands with the Ministry of Public Health to work on vaccine research.
Previously, Chulalongkorn University’s Chula Vaccine Research Centre had successfully tested mRNA vaccine trials on crab-eating monkeys.
Chula also estimates that its vaccine could be ready as early as mid-2021.
BSS/XINHUA/FI/ 2055 hrs