By THE NATION
“The ministry is working with Bionet-Asia to develop a DNA-type vaccine for Covid-19, and the latest tests on mice show a significant antibody response,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Thursday (June 25).
Bionet is a Thai-French private company specialising in the development, manufacturing and supply of vaccines.
“We are preparing samples for inspection by the Department of Medical Sciences and will later apply for human trials with the Food and Drug Asministration [FDA],” he added. “If the FDA gives the green light by July-September, the vaccine should be ready for public use within nine months, or by early 2021.”
“Thailand could be among the first countries to manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine. We are planning to share the formula with the world, though Thai people will be top priority to receive the vaccine,” said Anutin.
Manufacturing facilities for the vaccine have already been prepared by Bionet, he added.
Bionet-Asia president Withoon Wonghankul said the company will ask for FDA permission to begin simultaneous monkey and human trials of the prototype vaccine, which should help fast-track the process.
“Normally vaccine trials must be approved and completed in steps, from mice to monkeys and then humans. But in the case of Covid-19, which is an emergency, the FDA will allow trials on monkeys and humans to start simultaneously,” he said.
Thailand has launched research on six types of prototype Covid-19 vaccine: DNA, mRNA, protein subunit, Virus Like Particle (VLP), inactivated virus and viral vector. Several public and private organisations have joined hands in the vaccine search, including Bionet-Asia, Mahidol University, the National Science and Technology Development Agency, and Chulalongkorn University. Chula has reported good results in its mRNA vaccine trials on monkeys, and estimates that its vaccine could be ready as early as mid-2021.