The National Vaccine Institute plans the human tests of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine when tests with monkey prove to be successful. The local vaccine production is expected to begin late next year.
Dr Nakorn Premsri, director of the institute, said that the vaccine development resulted from the collaboration of many organizations including the National Vaccine Institute, the National Research Council of Thailand, Chulalongkorn University, BioNet-Asia Co, the National Science and Technology Development Agency, Mahidol University and the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital.
He said the vaccine development was making progress as tests began with mice and monkeys and several types of candidate vaccines were produced including DNA and mRNA vaccines.
Dr Nakorn said vaccine human tests might start either late this year or early next year if tests in mice and monkeys are successful. Tests with monkeys started on May 23.
Human tests will consist of three stages. The first one will cover 30-50 volunteers and concerns safety. The second stage will look into antibody stimulation in 250-500 volunteers and the third stage will be conducted with more than 1,000 volunteers to test disease prevention.
Vaccine production is expected to start locally late next year and BioNet-Asia has the production potential but will need to import some technology. Thailand was cooperating with University of Pennsylvania and China for the purpose, Dr Nakorn said.
Pending the local vaccine production, Thailand might have to import vaccine for a period, he said. However, Dr Nakorn pointed out that the local production of candidate vaccines took only 50 days and the timeframe was quick enough for disease control.
China, the United States, Britain, Germany and Australia started their human tests of ten candidate COVID-19 vaccines, he said.