Thailand begins COVID-19 vaccine trials on monkeys

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Thai researchers will inject the vaccine in low doses into five monkeys, and five more will receive the vaccine in higher doses.
Thai researchers will inject the vaccine in low doses into five monkeys, and five more will receive the vaccine in higher doses.

SARABURI – After a promising outcome from trials in rats, an anti-virus vaccine prototype developed by Thai researchers is now being tested in monkeys, with the results expected by September.



Researchers from the National Research Council of Thailand, the National Vaccine Institute, and Chulalongkorn University today started the trial of the mRNA vaccine prototype for COVID-19 at Chulalongkorn University’s National Primate Research Center of Thailand in Saraburi.

In the trial, the vaccine will be given in various doses to 13 female cynomolgus monkeys aged 4-6 years, which are comparable to humans aged 12 years or older.

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Five monkeys will receive the vaccine in low doses, and five will receive the vaccine in higher doses. The vaccine will be administered every two weeks on a total of three occasions, with continuous evaluation. It is expected to take 3-6 months for the results to be concluded.

This mRNA vaccine trial is among the five vaccine types ordered by the Prime Minister.

The National Research Council of Thailand’s Secretary General, Dr Sirirurg Songsivilai, said today that this monkey trial is a significant step in vaccine development, as primates’ bodies closely resemble humans. The process will help researchers study the vaccine’s effectiveness in stimulating antibody production, prior to a clinical trial in humans.

There are now 200 COVID-19 vaccines in development worldwide, most of which are at the stage of trials in small animals. The development of a vaccine can take at least 12 to 18 months before it is available for mass inoculations, provided all tests and trials are successful. (NNT)