With Thailand expected to begin human trials of its potential coronavirus vaccine this year, the Ministry of Public Health said Saturday it would seek the Cabinet’s approval for a 3-billion-baht budget to support vaccine development and technology transfer in the country with human trails to begin later this year after being delayed.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul chaired a meeting to discuss Covid-19 vaccine development in Thailand. Representatives and researchers from the Department of Medical Sciences, the National Vaccine Institute, state agencies, universities and private companies participated in the meeting to exchange views and information on current research into a Covid-19 vaccine.
Anutin said the government is facilitating Covid-19 vaccine development in cooperation with many sectors. Recently, it approved a 1-billion-baht budget to support the NVI’s work and to instigate a technology transfer for the vaccine in the country.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Public Health will seek the Cabinet’s approval for a budget of 3 billion baht to support ongoing Covid-19 vaccine research and development.
NVI Director Dr. Nakorn Premsri said there are two types of vaccines being developed to combat the coronavirus. They are virus-like particle vaccines, developed by the Faculty of Medicine of Siriraj Hospital, and subunit vaccines, developed by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Chulalongkorn University.
If both types of vaccine can be shown to stimulate the immune system of tested animals, the expertise and technology will be transferred to the Government Pharmaceutical Organizatio, so that the vaccines used in clinical trials meet the good manufacturing practice requirements.
The agency is also working with the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in developing a killed-vaccine by using genetically engineered corona and influenza viruses.
If successful, they will be used to produce more vaccines. The results of the three vaccine developments should be known this year or at the beginning of 2021. The NVI will consider funds for other researchers, with support from the academic committee.