COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Ready in 6 Months – Public Health Ministry
Published: August 12, 2020 at 11:56 am
With 38 vaccines in the human testing phase, there should be a working vaccine for the COVID-19 in six months.
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There should be a working vaccine for the COVID-19 virus within the next six months, Thailand’s Public Health Ministry announced.
According to Dr. Thanarak Plipat, the efforts of medical teams all around the world have resulted to more than 180 vaccines being tested in various phases. Out of these 180 vaccines, 38 are already in the human testing phase.
Dr. Thanarak is the Deputy Director General of the Department of Disease Control, a sub-office of the Public Health Ministry.
He explained that there are three sub-phases of the human trial phase. In the first phase, the medicine is tested on 100 volunteers. Once there are results, the second phase is initiated involving a wider group of volunteers covering both genders, and of different races and ages.
In the final phase, the experts subject two groups of volunteers into testing. One group is given the vaccine, while the other is given placebo and the results are of the testing and then compared.
Dr. Thanarak further revealed that 7 vaccines are in the final phase of the testing. 12 and 18 are in the second and first phases, respectively. A single vaccine, produced in China, has skipped the third phase, and is already being injected onto members of the Chinese military.
With this progress, the Health Ministry official said, there could be a vaccine as early as the next six months.
At home, he added, the government is preparing to procure vaccines as soon as they come out. It is also supporting research projects towards the same in the domestic side.
Thailand’s own Chulalongkorn University is developing its own COVID-19 vaccine, but it is currently testing monkeys only and is not expected to enter the human trial phase until the end of 2020.
Top experts in the University told members of the press last month that the vaccine has shown success in combating the COVID-19 virus in monkeys. However, they will need to first seek approval of the Food and Drugs Administration before human testing can commence.
Volunteers are expected to volunteer as early as next month.
According to Professor Kiat Ruxrungtham, director of the University’s vaccine research center, they have produced a vaccine by taking genetic material from known strains of the coronavirus into an mRNA vaccine.
The general material is used to make the body’s immune system recognize the virus and create antibodies, which are then targeted by the killer cells and eliminated.
All of the monkeys used in the testing phase have turned out a very high level of immunity from the weakened form of COVID-19. This, Professor Kiat, exceeded the team’s expectations.
Promising as the results are, the professor added, the same kind of immunity is not to be expected right away from humans. The human response could be 70% lower than that of the primates, he said.
Dr. Thira Woratanarat, an epidemiologist from Chulalongkorn University, had urged the government last week to postpone opening the country again to foreign tourism until a vaccine is already available.
The private sector is clamoring for the re-opening of foreign tourism, citing falling revenues and warning that “tens of thousands” of locals will lose jobs in a massive lay-off.