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By Linda Khoo
BANGKOK, Feb 18 -- Thailand’s locally-developed COVID-19 vaccine is set to undergo human trials in late April or early May, after being proven successful in trials on mice and monkeys last year.
Chulalongkorn Hospital director, Prof Dr Suttipong Wacharasindhu said the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, developed by Chulalongkorn University, had proven to help develop immunity against the virus that caused COVID-19.
“The first phase of the human trials will cover 72 volunteers at Chulalongkorn Hospital while the second phase will involve 300 to 600 volunteers at the same hospital and Mahidol University,” he said at a press conference here today.
The head researcher at Chulalongkorn University’s Centre of Excellence in Vaccine Research and Development, Kiat Ruxrungtham said the “ChulaCov19” would be produced in California with production capacity of up to five million doses by the end of the year.
He said the vaccine would be produced locally in the later stages by Thai company, Bionet Asia Co.
Thailand aims to vaccinate 50 per cent of its population by the year-end. The first batch of 200,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from China is scheduled to arrive on Feb 24.
Thailand has reportedly ordered 61 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and another two million doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech to date.
Meanwhile, Thailand recorded the first death of a doctor who contracted COVID-19 from patients.
Dr Panya Hanphanitphan, 66, practising in Maha Sarakham province, died at Srinagrind Hospital in Khon Kaen at 1.19 am (local time) today. His death will be included in Friday’s COVID-19 tally.
To date, Thailand has recorded 25,111 cases and 82 fatalities.