Trials on monkeys have been launched for a COVID-19 vaccine being developed in Thailand, after positive results were seen in mice. The vaccine is being developed by the National Vaccine Institute, the Department of Medical Science and Chulalongkorn University’s vaccine research center. According to the National Vaccine Institute director, Nakorn Premsri, the vaccine could be tested on humans by end of this year or in early 2021 if results are encouraging.
Thailand’s research efforts and the resources being leveraged for a coronavirus vaccine result from the government’s hopes that it could boost medical tourism in the country and Thailand’s image as a regional medical hub. To that end, the Thai government is planning to produce a cost-effective vaccine ready for next year. To support the project, Bionet-Asia, a local firm working with the government, has announced that it would pause all other activities and dedicated 250 personnel and its labs, technology and production facilities towards the vaccine development effort.
With just over 3,100 cases and 58 deaths, as of June 2020, Thailand has successfully contained the spread of the virus, which has enabled the country to ease business restrictions.
(Source: Reuters, New Strait Times)