The development of Thailand’s first Covid-19 vaccine is in the home stretch and it could be ready for use as a booster shot early next year, according to the National Vaccine Institute (NVI).
Produced by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO), the vaccine known as HXP-GPOVac is nearing the end of its third round of clinical trials, said Nakhon Premsri, the institute’s director.
About 4,000 volunteers recruited by Nakhon Phanom Hospital participated in the third stage, with each being given a 10-microgramme shot as a booster in December last year. The test results will be available in the middle of this month, Mr Nakhon said.
“If the test result (of Covid antibodies in volunteers) is satisfactory, the GPO will register the vaccine with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the end of this month,” he said.
Once it receives FDA approval, the GPO can start producing the vaccine to be given as a booster shot, with a target of 5-10 million doses a year.
Based on the current timeline, the vaccine could be ready for use on the general public around the beginning of next year, said Mr Nakhon.
“The GPO’s vaccine could be further developed to be a second-generation vaccine to fight against new strains such as XBB in the future,” he added.
HXP-GPOVac was developed using Newcastle disease virus (NDV) as a prototype. The egg-based production process is the same method used in developing the influenza vaccine, which has been in use for the past 60 years.
The first two phases of the study, from 2021 to 2022, showed that the GPO vaccine could stimulate Covid-19 antibodies while remaining safe to use, Mr Nakhon said.
Covid-19 booster shots are still highly recommended for high-risk groups, including the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases.