Thailand Uses Monkeys for New COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

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Truth be told, the Coronavirus disease has been attributed to a lot of socioeconomic negativities since the virus strain originated from the Wuhan province in China. Repeated failures have met virtually every conceivable drug tested with the hope of being a vaccine. Apparently, the COVID-19 vaccine progress is likely to be a slow one

Well, the Kingdom of Thailand appears to be on to something as their league of scientists has announced that it is currently testing a newly developed COVID-19 vaccine on monkeys. This decision follows what the scientists describe as “successful clinical trials on mice.” The vaccine is being developed at the Southeast Asian Country’s COVID-19 research program based in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok; the country’s capital.

According to Sky News correspondents, the drug is said to induce the body’s immune system to fight against the virus. This vaccine is a government-backed project as it has also caught the eyes of international powers. The United Kingdom has stated that if the drug trials are successful and the vaccine gets approved by the drug agency, it will order for as many as 30 million units. The UK is one of the countries that have been worst-hit by the deadly virus.  Definitely, it is the same to say that countries like the United States, Brazil, and other countries topping the confirmed cases chart have their attention fixated on the Thai COVID-19 vaccine progress.

A group of monkeys has been injected with the drug, which is made up of molecules scientists have chosen to term as messenger RNA (mRNA). According to the scientists, the drug, when injected into the primate’s system, contains a portion of the COVID-19 genetic code, which will spark up a defense mechanism in the body’s system to stave off the threat.Kiat Ruxrungtham, Professor and Director, Thailand COVID-19 research program, confirmed that the drug being tested would ensure that the immune system will be prepared to defend the body at that time and help prevent future infectious diseases.

Monkeys will receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine once a month for three months. According to Suchinda Malaivijitnond, Professor and Director, National Primate Research Center, monkeys are the sole holders of the ACE2 receptor among the other species, which allows them to bind with the genetic code of the virus. He has said that it was best for the COVID-19 vaccine to be tested on monkeys before humans get to use it.

For the record, the COVID-19 vaccine is yet to be approved for public usage but, upon a successful animal trial, the narrative could be different. Due to the fast spread of the virus, scientists have been coerced into producing vaccines within a shorter time. A vaccine usually takes up to two years but now can be processed for half of that time, say 10-18 calendar months. If the vaccine is a hit, Thailand will be the most sought after nation in the world, especially in the Southeast Asian region. If successful, it could be headed for a 2021 release.

 

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