11 July 2024

Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) launched the third phase of human trials of its COVID HXP-GPOVac on 4,000 volunteers today (Friday), after the success of the second phase involving 300 volunteers.

Each volunteer will be given two doses of vaccine, of 10 micrograms each at least 14 days apart, after which their blood will be taken for tests, to check the level of immunity. Doctors will also assess the safety of the vaccine in humans and compare its efficacy against that of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is also an inactivated vaccine. The vaccine will be used as booster.

Volunteers must be at least 18-years-old, physically healthy, without underlying diseases and not infected with COVID-19 in the past three months.

If the results of the third phase are satisfactory, the GPO will apply to register the HXP-GPOVac with the Thai Food and Drug Administration, to be used in cases of emergency, tentatively, in the middle of next year.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said today that the GPO’s vaccine is quite safe because it is an inactivated vaccine, and that he hopes that the vaccine will enhance Thailand’s vaccine security and help reduce dependence on imported vaccines.

He also expressed his appreciation to all the volunteers for their sacrifice by taking part in the human trial.

Launched in May 2020, the GPO’s vaccine development project is supported by PATH, a global non-profit health organisation, which has provided the GPO with a prototype, jointly developed by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of Texas in Austin in the United States.

The prototype vaccine has been used in the research, development and production of the HXP-GPOVac candidate,which is an inactivated chimeric vaccine.

The Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University is also researching an mRNA COVID vaccine, whereas Baiya Phytopharm Company, a start-up of the Faculty of Pharmacy at Chulalongkorn University, is also engaged in the second phase development of its plant-based COVID vaccine.