(Renewal and recast with the progress of vaccine developed in Thailand)
Bangkok, February 18 (Reuters)-Thailand’s second domestically developed vaccine will soon undergo human experimentation, officials said Thursday, with plans to produce up to 5 million doses by the end of the year. Added.
The vaccine developed by Chulalongkorn University in Thailand has been successfully tested in mice and monkeys and will be tested in humans in late April or early May, said Kiat Ruxrungtham of the Chula Vaccine Research Center.
“By the end of the year, we need a production capacity of 1 to 5 million times a year,” Kiat said in a press conference, adding that this could reach about 20 million times a year later.
The announcement was made in criticism that Thailand’s vaccine strategy was slow and overly dependent on AstraZeneca shots produced by the king’s local manufacturer, Siam Biosciences.
The “Chula Cov19” vaccine, developed in Thailand, was initially produced in California, but will be produced locally by the Thai company Bionet Asia at a later stage.
According to Kiat, the university is already developing a vaccine to prevent the highly contagious UK and South Africa COVID-19 variants.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul welcomed progress towards improving vaccine safety in Thailand, which has recorded 25,111 infections and 82 deaths since the pandemic began.
“We are not betting on one horse, we are the owners of the Thai stables,” he told reporters.
Another Thai-developed vaccine involving Mahidol University is also planned for clinical trials in humans, but if approved, it will not be available until later than the dose of locally produced AstraZeneca.
The government has ordered 26 million doses of locally made AstraZeneca shots for use in vaccination since June, with plans to administer 10 million doses per month from that point on.
However, Anutin appeared to have receded from a previous statement that Thailand would import 50,000 “early doses” from AstraZeneca later this month.
“We asked them if they could take it sooner if they had it, but that’s not an agreement,” he told reporters.
Thailand also recorded the first death of a doctor infected with the virus from a patient on Thursday, Anutin said. His death is included in the Friday tally. (Report by Chayut Setboonsarng, Panarat Thepgumpanat, Patpicha Tanakasempipat, edited by Martin Petty and Ed Davies)
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