Chula revs up trials of mRNA Covid vaccine

Chula revs up trials of mRNA Covid vaccine

Chulalongkorn University's mRNA Covid-19 vaccine, ChulaCov19, began its first round of human trials yesterday on 72 volunteer test subjects.

Prof Dr Kiat Ruxrungtham, head of Chulalongkorn University's vaccine research centre, said two groups will take part -- half aged 18–55 and half 65–75.

Each will then be further divided into three subgroups to receive differing doses of 10, 25 or 50 microgrammes of the vaccine to test the concentration required to bestow immunity as well the formula's effects on people of different ages.

If all goes well, a second round of human trials on a larger group of 150-300 subjects will follow in August, he said.

"The safety of every volunteer is our main concern, so we must follow a clinical timetable to ensure the vaccine will prevent sickness and death from Covid-19," he said.

He added that if the World Health Organization [WHO] set specific criteria for efficacy, which might shorten Chula's development process.

"If the WHO set efficacy at 80 International Units [for example], and ChulaCov19 is able to exceed this, it means we could skip to the third round of human trials much sooner and be ready for public use much quicker earlier than 2022," he explained.

The ChulaCov 19 vaccine is an mRNA-type vaccine, similar to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which use messenger RNA or mRNA to teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response against the Covid-19 virus inside our bodies.

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