BANGKOK — Vaccines for the coronavirus produced by Thai scientists are expected to be available next year, the government said Wednesday.
Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of coronavirus response agency, said researchers reported successful tests in mice and they will begin testing the prototype in monkeys next week. The vaccine is being developed by the National Vaccine Institute and Chulalongkorn University.
“The vaccine is expected to be ready next year,” Taweesin said. “I’m happy for Thai people and I appreciate the works of Thai researchers who are no less able than other countries.”
Thailand is one of the countries vying to be the first in the world to invent a vaccine for the coronavirus, which has infected 5 million people and killed at least 300,000 worldwide as of publication time.
Thailand is betting on the Messenger RNA vaccine. It contains derivatives of DNA or RNA that prompts body cells to produce antigens, generating an immunity against the COVID-19, Chulalongkorn’s prominent virologist Yong Poovorawan said.
Five vaccine prototypes are being developed domestically, science minister Suvit Maesincee said. Once they complete testing in animals, the vaccines will be produced in the US and Canada for clinical studies in humans before they can be mass produced in Thailand, he said.
According to the World Health Organization, there are about 120 vaccines for the COVID-19 being developed around the globe. At least eight of them have progressed to the clinical evaluation stage, where testings will be performed on humans.