Govt injects B2.8bn for domestic vaccine development push

Govt injects B2.8bn for domestic vaccine development push

The government has allocated more than 2.8 billion baht to support Covid-19 vaccine research and development and push for Thailand to be a regional hub for vaccine production.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered the budget allocation. Of the amount, an allocation of about 1.81 billion baht was approved by a cabinet on Dec 29 last year, and another 995 million baht drawn from the fund reserved for emergency purposes. It will be used for Covid-19 research and development, and building infrastructure to support vaccine production, he said. The money has been allocated to the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) which in turn has offered the funding to support research by state and private organizations, he said.

They include BioNet-Asia Co which has received 650 million baht to develop and make DNA vaccines; and the National Science and Technology Development Agency which has been given 200 million baht to develop prototype vaccines for clinical trials to deal with mutated strains of the virus, Mr Anucha said.

Baiya Phytopharm Co -- a local pharmaceutical startup that is also developing Covid-19 vaccines -- also has been given 160 million baht to conduct tests on locally-made plant-based Covid-19 vaccines.

Another 562 million baht has been allocated to prepare the National Biopharmaceutical Facility (NBF) to serve as a Covid-19 vaccine production facility.

Located at the King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, the NBF is Thailand's first state-owned contract manufacturing facility for making clinical research-grade biopharmaceuticals.

Another 156.8 million baht has been given to the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) for vaccine packaging, while the GPO-Merieux Biological Products Co has been given 81.8 million baht to expand its industrial-scale vaccine production capacity. Another 365 million baht has been allocated to the Vaccine Research Centre at Chulalongkorn University's faculty of medicine.

Some 596.2 million baht has been granted to Siam Bioscience. Under the terms of the contract with the NVI, the company will produce and deliver to the government vaccines worth the same value as the funding it received from the NVI. Another 33.79 million baht has been allocated to the National Primate Research Centre of Chulalongkorn University.

Meanwhile, the second batch of 500,000 Sinovac vaccine doses donated by China arrived in Thailand yesterday, in addition to the previous batch of donated 500,000 doses which were delivered last month.

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