BANGKOK — Thai scientists could begin human trials of vaccines for the novel strains of coronavirus as early as October, the technology minister said Tuesday.
Suvit Maesincee said tests on monkeys showed encouraging results as they were healthy and able to develop antibodies against the virus, which has infected at least 9 million people globally so far. The vaccine was administered to monkeys on Monday after researchers reported successful tests in mice in May.
“We found every monkey to be healthy and no side effects were reported,” Suvit said. “Blood tests also found they were able to develop a satisfactory amount of antibodies. This is very good news.”
Thailand, as well as many countries, are in the race to find a vaccine for COVID-19. The minister said the development of indiginous Messenger RNA vaccine is going well according to the plan. The next round of animal testing is expected to being in July before they can be conducted on humans in October.
“PM Prayut Chan-o-cha wants Thailand to become one of the first nations to acquire the vaccine,” Suvit said. “Different domestic agencies are collaborating, while we are also cooperating with other countries to prepare for the production.”
Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who had previously pledged to volunteer himself for human trials of the vaccine, said he is working to allocate more funds to help boost the research.
At least five vaccines prototypes are being developed domestically by different health institutions, according to the technology ministry.