Dr. Thiravat Hemachudha, Head of the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre, announced last Saturday, August 29, that Thailand’s developed Covid-19 vaccine has initially proved successful in trials on monkeys.
According to the doctor, the latest vaccine, produced by a Thailand based startup company called Baiya Phytopharm, was developed from proteins of a special type of tobacco leaves. It had been previously tested on mice and monkeys, resulting in high antibodies enough to prevent the virus without any side effects.
Dr. Thiravat stated online: “Mice and monkeys were given the vaccine twice in three weeks apart. The results showed that the monkeys remain healthy with no side effects. Their blood results showed normal liver enzyme levels and normal red and white blood cells. The monkeys were also proved to have high protection against the virus and a neutralizing antibody that can inhibit the virus.”
He further explained that the vaccine is produced by integrating the virus DNA into tobacco leaves. The plant then responds to the DNA and produces proteins about a week later. These proteins are extracted to make the vaccine.
Dr. Thiravat told reporters: “This vaccine is made from tobacco which is easy and cheap to produce in Thailand, even for a million doses at an industrial scale. So, if trials on humans were successful, then we could produce our own vaccine in our country.”
Currently, the Baiya Phytopharm company is working on the purification process of the vaccine for use in humans and in talks with the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) to see if it is willing to collaborate with the vaccine candidate. If the NVI agrees to take part, the vaccine will be ready for human trials in three months.
“It’s time that Thai people can be proud of a vaccine that is manufactured in our own country without relying on other nations and with no issues on the vaccine’s patent. We could produce lots and lots of them in a matter of weeks.” The doctor stated.