Chula-developed jabs to be tested in May

Chula-developed jabs to be tested in May

Goal to produce 5m shots after series of human trials

Researchers from the Chula Vaccine Research Centre of Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Medicine host a press briefing on the progress of the country's first-ever mRNA ChulaCOV 19 vaccine at Chulalongkorn Hospital. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Researchers from the Chula Vaccine Research Centre of Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Medicine host a press briefing on the progress of the country's first-ever mRNA ChulaCOV 19 vaccine at Chulalongkorn Hospital. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The mRNA ChulaCOV 19 vaccine which Thailand is developing will enter the first stage of human trials in May with hopes to produce a maximum of five million shots with its partner, vaccine manufacturer BioNet Asia, by the end of this year.

It will be followed by the beginning of a cocktail vaccine development, which will be the second vaccine generation to fight the mutated SARS-CoV-2 virus strains in the next two months.

Developed by the Chula Vaccine Research Centre (CVRC), Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University and its partners, the mRNA-type vaccine will be the country's second virus vaccine to be tested on human beings, after the egg-based vaccine against Covid-19 produced by the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO).

The GPO has developed a pilot NDV-HXP-S vaccine against Covid-19 that it plans to test on people next month and plans to produce it by next year at a rate of 30 million doses per year.

Kiat Ruxrungtham, director of the CVRC who heads the project, said on Thursday clinical tests had shown "satisfying results" that it could 100% prevent Covid infection and the virus entering blood systems.

Additionally it could reduce the amount of virus by 10 million times in a mouse's nose and lungs, compared to mice which had not been tested using the vaccine, he said.

The tests also showed that there is no vaccine-related toxicity concerns, he said.

Dr Kiat said the ChulaCOV 19 vaccine's efficiency is not much different from the US-made Moderna that also uses mRNA technology and that, in some doses, the efficiency is two times better for creating body immunity.

It could also be kept at warmer temperature of 2C-8C for at least one month.

According to the timeline, the first stage of the human trial is expected to happen in May with 36 volunteers.

Testing will be conducted at the university, followed by a second phase from July to September with 600 participants, and "Phase 2b" with 5,000 participants in the third to fourth quarter. Participants will be aged between 18 and 75 years.

"We might not need to have the third trial on human beings if the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests a new regulation to waive the massive trials on humans if the clinical tests show a certain level of human immunity recommended by WHO," he said.

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