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Thailand aims to start COVID-19 vaccine human trials in October

Researchers are now gearing up for human clinical trials in October, with production starting in mid-2021, after a trial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in monkeys was successful

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – A trial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in monkeys has been successful, with the subjects showing higher immune responses. Researchers are now gearing up for human clinical trials in October, with production starting in mid-2021.

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A study of a COVID-19 vaccine prototype in monkeys, performed by the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and Chulalongkorn University’s National Primate Research Center of Thailand, has been successful, according to the NRCT.

This experimental mRNA vaccine had first been successfully tested in rats, while the tests in monkeys started on 23 May.

The Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Suvit Maesincee, said all the monkeys that received the vaccine show no negative side effects, while their blood tests show a satisfactory level of the antibody triggered by the vaccine.

The monkeys, at the National Primate Research Center, have been injected with the vaccine once. Researchers will today administer the second dose for further study. Should all go well, the clinical trial of this vaccine candidate in humans can begin in October and November this year.

The NRCT Secretary General Dr. Sirirurg Songsivilai said the monkeys will be tested periodically for their immune responses after receiving the second dose of vaccine, with their antibody level expected to increase over the next two weeks, while the third dose will be administered in August.

He said this research project is now progressing on track, with the target to start producing a viable COVID-19 vaccine in Thailand in mid-2021.

The National Primate Research Center Director Suchinda Malaivijitnond said the experimental vaccine has shown no negative side effects in recipient monkeys with no fever, or symptoms in the neurological, cardiovascular, respiratory or digestive systems.

The monkeys are showing normal behaviour, which is a good sign that this vaccine prototype would be safe for use in humans.

She said the project shows the world-class capabilities of vaccine researchers and development projects in Thailand.

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AstraZeneca Approves Thailand’s Vaccine Factory

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – AstraZeneca has approved safety standards at Thailand’s vaccine factory and will send the first batch of raw materials for vaccine production in June.

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Health

Skin-lightening products market to reach US$31 billion by 2024

In emerging Asian and African economies, the natural aspiration to enhance one’s circumstances has led to rapid growth in the market for skin-lightening products, which is projected to reach US$31 billion by 2024.

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Recent years have seen evolving awareness of systemic inequities including racism, sexism and pro-Western chauvinism.

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Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?

Oxford Business Group

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Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?
– Covid-19 led to a slowdown in BRI projects
– Chinese overseas investment dropped off in 2020
– Government remains committed to the wide-ranging infrastructure programme
– Sustainability, health and digital to be the new cornerstones of the initiative 

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Following a year of coronavirus-related disruptions, China appears to be placing a greater focus on sustainable, digital and health-related projects in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

As OBG outlined in April last year, the onset of Covid-19 prompted questions about the future direction of the BRI.

Launched in 2013, the BRI is an ambitious international initiative that aims to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes through large-scale infrastructure development.

By the start of 2020 some 2951 BRI-linked projects – valued at a total of $3.9trn – were planned or under way across the world.

However, as borders closed and lockdowns were imposed, progress stalled on a number of major BRI infrastructure developments.

In June China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 30-40% of BRI projects had been affected by the virus, while a further 20% had been “seriously affected”. Restrictions on the flow of Chinese workers and construction supplies were cited as factors behind project suspensions or slowdowns in Pakistan, Cambodia and Indonesia, among other countries.

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