Thai university reports positive results in COVID-19 vaccine animal trial
A Thai university on Sunday published on its website the positive results in animal trial for a COVID-19 candidate vaccine.
Chulalongkorn University said that its joint research with Baiya Phytopharm, a startup Thai pharmaceutical firm, has shown encouraging results in boosting antibody levels in hamsters, rats and monkeys.
"We used Baiya SARS-CoV Vax 1, which was developed from nicotiana benthamiana tobacco leaves, and tested on white mice and monkeys," said Dr. Suthira Taychakhoonavudh, a researcher involved in the development of several COVID-19 candidate vaccines.
Suthira said that the test results from the animals showed that the vaccine boosts the level of antibodies in their bodies effectively after two doses.
"Our next step will be to evaluate the toxicology or side effects of the candidate vaccine," said Suthira, who is also associate dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Chulalongkorn University.
Suthira said the COVID-19 immunity level of the monkeys in the tests will be reviewed again six months after they were initially vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Dr. Narin Hiransuthikul, vice rector of Chulalongkorn University, said that the university is in close consultation with the National Vaccines Institute, the Food and Drugs Administration and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, to seek endorsement as well as to ensure that the candidate vaccines meet the required international standards.
He said that the next phase of tests will be conducted at the Primate Research Center in Kaeng Khoi district of Saraburi province in central Thailand, a lab with animal bio safety level 3 facilities.
Narin said that if vaccine experiments are successful to the end stage, there will be qualified pharmaceutical manufacturers ready to mass produce the vaccines on a commercial basis.
The Thai government in August approved a funding of 1 billion baht (32 million U.S. dollars) for the development of a vaccine against COVID-19.
The funding was handed over to Thailand's National Vaccine Institute.