Covid-19 vaccines make progress

Covid-19 vaccines make progress

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, right, looks at solution samples on June 1 at the Siam Bioscience Group, which produces Covid-19 test kits. Pattarapong Chatpattarasill
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, right, looks at solution samples on June 1 at the Siam Bioscience Group, which produces Covid-19 test kits. Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

The world is pinning its hopes on the Covid-19 vaccines produced by pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

The United States has allowed Pfizer's vaccine to be administered to its citizens under emergency use authorisation as it seeks to halt the country's massive infection rate. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization predicts that the developed world, and hopefully developing countries too, should be able to access the vaccine within two years.

The government has pre-ordered 26 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine, enough for 13 million people.

However, the Ministry of Public Health is keen to maximise the number of Thais who can benefit from a vaccine and has instructed the Siam Bioscience plant to roll out AstraZeneca's vaccine by the middle of next year.

The plant will have the capacity to produce 15 million doses of vaccine per month based on a technology transfer agreement with AstraZeneca.

The hope is that the plant will become a hub that produces the vaccine for neighbouring countries as well.

Meanwhile, many medical institutes in the country, including Chulalongkorn and Mahidol universities, are striving to produce their own vaccines.

Human trials are expected to take place early next year, aimed at providing the vaccine to Thais by the end of 2021 if all goes well.

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