Coronavirus vaccine expected by mid-next year

Coronavirus vaccine expected by mid-next year

A Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be made available to the public in the middle of next year at 620 baht per shot, the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) says.

Clinical trials in the vaccine's development made progress last week in the United Kingdom and China, said Sirirurg Songsivilai, secretary-general for executive director at the NRCT.

In the UK, vaccines are being created by Oxford University in collaboration with a company, while in China the vaccine is being researched by a private business.

Dr Sirirurg said the vaccines being produced by the two countries were able to stimulate body immunity in volunteers with no serious side effects.

Earlier, a similar test for a Covid-19 vaccine was performed in the United States which yielded a satisfactory result. Thirty types of Covid-19 vaccine are being tested on humans.

The results of early-stage tests are encouraging signs for researchers and the medical communities. The next crucial step is to trial the vaccine among people in large sample sizes to gauge its level of safety and efficacy. This marks the final process before the vaccine is certified for use in the general population, Dr Sirirurg said.

The vaccine will likely be launched early next year in limited amounts. Enough vaccine will be made available for most people in the middle of next year, he said.

For Thailand, it is estimated the vaccine will be priced at 620 per shot and each person will need two per doses, costing 1,240 baht, Dr Sirirurg said.

Meanwhile, Piyasakon Sakonsattayathorn, adviser to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), has called on the government to hold talks with Oxford University to seek a transfer of technology in the Covid-19 vaccine development to Thai researchers.

Also, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the government has allocated 3.5 billion baht to support vaccine research and investment, of which 600 million baht has been set aside for disbursement to the NRCT.

Dr Piyasakon said the NRCT budget will pay for the ramping up technological and vaccine production capacity among pharmaceutical firms in Thailand through the transfer of technology from overseas. The Food and Drug Administration has inspected the firms' production bases.

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