6 June 2024

Biosafety labs, for tests on COVID-19 and other new diseases, jointly developed by Japan and Thailand’s Department of Medical Sciences, were unveiled today (Monday). Japan has also pledged a donation of AstraZeneca vaccine to Thailand in July.

Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul chaired the handover ceremony of the National Institute of Health Renovated Laboratories (Level 2 and 3), by Japanese Ambassador Nashida Kazuya. The ฿38.6m laboratories were funded by the Japanese government, through the World Health Organization (WHO).

Thailand’s National Institute of Health Level 3 lab was designed to prevent the leak of diseases, while research on high-risk pathogens is conducted. It will be used for isolation of viruses for microbial culture, genetic material extraction and storage of new disease samples for use in autopsies and further studies in medical sciences and disease control, as well as drug and vaccine developments.

According to Mr. Anutin, the lab can cover standardised COVID-19 tests from across the country and is aiming to become an ASEAN hub for lab safety and biosecurity training.

Japan has also pledged to donate an unspecified amount of AstraZeneca vaccine, an agreement for which will be signed on Thursday and delivered in July, he added. Thailand has received more than 3.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to date.