Plant jab set for clinical trials

Plant jab set for clinical trials

People sit apart on a Bangkok bus to prevent Covid transmission on Thursday. The government is allowing public land transport servicds to operate at a maximum 75% of capacity. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
People sit apart on a Bangkok bus to prevent Covid transmission on Thursday. The government is allowing public land transport servicds to operate at a maximum 75% of capacity. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The plant-based Covid-19 vaccine, known as "Baiya Vaccine", is set to start the first phase of clinical trials this month, according to researchers.

Assoc Prof Waranyoo Phoolcharoen, co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) at Baiya Phytopharm Co, said human trials are expected to begin after information related to the manufacturing process is reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

If the clinical trials go as planned, production of the Baiya Vaccine for mass rollout is likely to start in the middle of next year, he told "Future Talk by NXPO" from the Office of National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council.

Baiya Vaccine uses an Australian strain of tobacco with low nicotine traces in its leaves as a host to culture a genetically engineered protein. Researchers extract the protein from the leaves and use it to produce a vaccine that can stimulate antibodies to fight Covid-19.

Assoc Prof Waranyoo said research and development of Covid-19 vaccines continue in the fight against the virus' variants and Baiya Phytopharm Co, a startup under the CU Enterprise programme, is also conducting studies into drugs to boost the country's public health security.

Suthira Taychakhoonavudh, also co-founder and chief executive of Baiya Phytopharm Co, said Thailand has potential in vaccine research development.

She said Baiya Phytopharm plans to produce a second generation of the Baiya Vaccine to provide better protection, but added that will depend on the outcome of the first phase trial.

Under the plan, the vaccine should be ready for rollout in the third quarter of next year.

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