Tests for virus cure 'promising'

Tests for virus cure 'promising'

Trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine on animals has yielded satisfactory results, according to the Public Health Ministry.

Department of Medical Sciences director-general, Opart Karnkawinpong, said the tests were conducted by scientists led by Kiat Ruxrungtham of Chulalongkorn University in collaboration with researchers from Siriraj Hospital, Ramathibodi Hospital and several regional hospitals.

The team has developed what it hopes is a DNA vaccine and administered it to mice in lab tests.

The innoculated mice have created antibodies that look promising, Dr Opart said.

The team will conduct further testing before any human trials, he said.

"This is just the first step...Even though Thailand's vaccine development still trails behind countries such as China, we hope attempts by Thai scientists to develop a vaccine will yield further results," Dr Opart said.

Meanwhile, Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, has announced on Facebook the centre has been working with City Hall and the Thai Red Cross Society's National Blood Centre to understand why some patients continue to test positive for the coronavirus despite having supposedly recovered from it.

The centre checked patients who have recovered from Covid-19, using real time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (real time RT-PCR) -- the widely used method for detecting coronavirus.

It was found the presence of genetic material from the virus, or RNA (ribonucleic acid) can still be detected in people who have fully recovered, Dr Yong said.

He said the RNA forms only part of the virus and cannot be transmitted, and that detection of the virus' genetic material should not be classified as reinfection.

This means people who have recovered but appear to be testing positive, should not worry.

"It should not be surprising if the virus' RNA is detected after recovery,'' Dr Yong said.

He said South Korean and Chinese studies found the RNA can linger for 45 days after a patient maked a full recovery.

In some cases, the RNA was not detected in initial checks, but was found in later even though the patient was not reinfected, Dr Yong said.

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