Thailand is set to start human trials of its homegrown and plant-based Covid-19 vaccine in September, and the shot is expected to be ready for Thais next year.
The subunit vaccine was developed by Chulalongkorn University's Vaccine Research Centre and Baiya Phytopharm Co Ltd.
A hundred volunteers would join for the first clinical trial of the vaccine, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said. "The volunteers would be given three different dosages – 10, 50 and 100 micrograms of the candidate vaccine to determine an appropriate effective dose for adults."
"A pre-clinical study in mice and monkeys found the vaccine candidate being highly effective in boosting the animals' immunity. If human trials are successful, the vaccine will be ready for Thais next year," he continued.
"The researchers are testing it against 10 variants. If the research is successful, we may have something similar to a flu vaccine that can protect against several strains," Anutin said.
The "Baiya Vaccine" is produced from plant leaves, by Baiya Phytofarm and uses heirloom tobacco leaves from Australia to function as the virus' non-pathogenic genetic materials, Chulalongkorn University said.
CEO and co-founder of Baiya Phytofarm Dr Sutheera Dejkhunnavuth said the Baiya Vaccine against Covid-19 is a subunit vaccine that has been produced for a long time in other countries using plants, insects while some countries like Canada and South Korea use plant leaves.
"This vaccine uses heirloom tobacco leaves from Australia to function as the virus' non-pathogenic genetic materials. When injected into the body, the vaccine will boost our immunity to fight the infection," Dr Sutheera said. "The vaccine is expected to be ready in the middle of next year at 300 to 500 baht per dose."
Also, Chulalongkorn University researchers have been developing Covid-19 vaccines, including ChulaCov19, an mRNA vaccine that conducted the first phase of its clinical trial in June.