Thailand’s Covid-19 success leads to vaccine effort

Although the Kingdom’s success in containing the virus may affect human trials in a population where the virus may not be present, Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccine effort continues proficiently.

“Our scientists are working on three different vaccines, and human trials should be able to start early next year,” said Dr. Tanarak Plipat, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health. “As we have so few [Covid-19] cases, our trials will likely have to be conducted in optional areas.”

Although there are other countries and pharmaceutical companies producing  vaccines, if the Kingdom’s vaccines are safe and effective, they could play an important role in ending the pandemic. Public health specialists in the U.S. said recently that global demand for COVID-19 vaccine would overwhelm U.S. companies’ ability to produce it, and so it could be 2024 before a workable vaccine can reach everyone if the U.S. vaccine is solely relied on.

Thailand’s scientists see their vaccine, if effective, being distributed widely in
developing countries that will not be among the countries first receiving a formulation produced in Europe or the U.S.

At the same time that Thailand is working on its vaccine, it is in negotiations with American and European companies to manufacture their vaccines in Thailand if they work, Tanarak said. “We hope to reach an agreement soon,” he said.

Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said the government had made Covid-19 vaccine research and development a national priority to ensure the world’s leading institutions fully realize the capability and readiness of Thailand.

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