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First lot of local Covid vaccine produced

Chula researchers say jab more effective than Pfizer, approval possible by year-end

The first batch of ChulaCov19, the first messenger-RNA vaccine developed in Thailand, has been produced and is awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the first two phases of human trials, a government spokesperson said on Saturday.

The first lot of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Chulalongkorn University researchers was produced by Thailand-based BioNet-Asia Co Ltd.

If all trial results meet the requirements, the vaccine is expected to be registered for use by the end of this year, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said.

According to the Chula Vaccine Research Center, ChulaCov19 is safe and has a higher efficacy than the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus. The Pfizer vaccine has an efficacy of 95% against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Production of the vaccine was supported by 2.31 billion baht in funding approved by the cabinet in November last year.

“The government wants Thailand to be a country capable of creating, conducting research and development and producing its own vaccine, which is in accordance with its 10-year strategic plan to become a medical hub (by 2026),” Ms Rachada said.

“The goal was set before the Covid-19 pandemic began, and by becoming a vaccine production centre, more Thai people will have access to the vaccine.”

Ms Rachada said ChulaCov19 had passed two preliminary stages of trials on volunteers, with lab results showing safe, effective responses to the virus.

“The antibodies generated by ChulaCov19 were higher than from Pfizer vaccines used in Thailand,” she said, quoting the Chula Vaccine Research Centre.

Thailand will pursue domestic production of the vaccine in the next phase of the project, she added.

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