Govt to recruit volunteers for vaccine trial

Govt to recruit volunteers for vaccine trial

Reuters illustration
Reuters illustration

Thai researchers plan to recruit 5,000 volunteers for a human trial of a Covid-19 vaccine expected to start later this year, following an ongoing three-month test on monkeys.

The first jabs were given to 13 long-tailed macaques on Saturday. The animal testing will take three months and results are expected by the end of August.

If the trial is successful the research team will use the best viable antibodies from these primates to produce 10,000 doses of vaccine for human trials, Kiat Rakrungtham, director of the Chulalongkorn University's Centre of Excellence in Vaccine Research and Development, said yesterday.

"That will kickstart the test in humans, which will see at least 5,000 volunteers receive two injections each," he said.

The mRNA vaccine -- jointly-developed by Chulalongkorn University's Centre of Excellence in Vaccine Research and Development, the National Vaccine Institute and the Department of Medical Sciences and the private sector -- is one oif several potential vaccines being tested in Thailand.

Dr Kiat said a factory in Canada will be contracted to produce the vaccine for the human trial, which is planned for October.

Before the vaccine is administered to all participants, it will be first tested on 30 to 50 volunteers to determine its safety, he said.

If it passes, the vaccine will be administered to 250-500 people to test its ability to activate the immune system. Following that, the vaccine will be given to the remaining volunteers to test its efficacy in preventing Covid-19, Dr Kiat said.

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