Success in a new local Covid-19 vaccine trials on monkeys

7 Jul 2022

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A doctor at the University of Chulalongkorn announced on Saturday that the results of testing a new Covid-19 vaccine on monkeys have been successful.

Dr. Thiravat Hemachudha, director of the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Research Centre, said that the new vaccine, using tobacco leaf proteins. It had been tested on monkeys and mice with good results and will now go through the next phases until it is used in human trials.

According to Dr. Thiravat, the vaccine is manufactured by a Thai corporation called "Bai Ya."

"This vaccination is not the same as the one produced by doctors at the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University. This vaccination, manufactured from proteins of a specific form of tobacco leaf, it is simple and inexpensive to manufacture, also on an industrial scale," he said.

The doctor clarified the vaccine is produced by injecting the DNA of the virus into the leaves of tobacco. The plant reacts to DNA and, about a week later, develops proteins. These proteins are being used to make the vaccine.

Dr. Thiravat said not only does the vaccine generate antibodies, but it may also induce T cells to develop antibodies by themselves as they encounter the same virus.

The firm is in negotiations with the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) to see if it can participate in the vaccine candidate's purification phase, the doctor states.

If the NVI decides to cooperate, then in three months, the vaccine will be eligible for clinical trials.

If not, it would be needed to create a new plan, which would delay clinical trials by nine months.

After clinical testing, production of the vaccine will take place quickly on an industrial scale, the doctor said. He added that the tobacco leaves would develop in one month to generate more than 10 million doses of the vaccine.

tobacco plant - Being used for producing the Covid-19 vaccine

Both seasonal and emerging infectious diseases are predicted to be successful with the vaccine.

However, he found out that in Thailand, there are not enough Covid-19 patients for human trials and the side effects to be considered.

Source:  Bangkok Post