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Thai scientists aim to produce vaccine against Covid from tobacco leaves

Thai scientists aim to produce vaccine against Covid from tobacco leaves

Baiya Phytopharm, a pharmaceutical company in Thailand has started work to develop the first plant-based vaccine against Covid. Start-up, founded in 2018, worked on a vaccine using the leaves of an Australian tobacco plant.

The team of Thai scientists want to "make a difference" from other vaccine importers.

Baiya is the first Thai company to enter the university's CU innovation center, a research center for start-up businesses, to develop technology to produce recombinant proteins that can produce medicines and vaccines.

The three-year work is funded by Chulalongkorn University Alumni and the Thai government, and the firm itself has raised about $ 3 million from donations from people.

The company completed the first phase of human trials of its plant-based Covid vaccine in December last year. No plant-based Covid vaccine exists anywhere, though at least one other than Baiya's is under development.

"So far, all we know is that ... all the volunteers are safe. "And looking at the security profile, we are very pleased with it," said Thai scientists. However, according to them, it is still early to determine the degree of effectiveness, but the goal is to use the available vaccines as a reference point.

The pharmaceutical company says it expects the second phase tests to begin in February and the third phase in June. She hopes to submit data to the Thai Food and Drug Administration for vaccine approval by the third or fourth quarter of this year.

The company said it could quickly increase production capacity if the vaccine is approved. Currently, they say they can produce about five million doses of vaccine per month, which amounts to about 60 million doses of vaccine per year.

The same manufacturing facilities will be able to produce vaccines not only for Thailand but also for the region, according to them.

The company is using the same tobacco factory to develop anti-cancer drugs and anti-aging treatments.

As a start-up, Baiya is still not making money, but that's because it aims to build a credible and affordable research industry by people in Thailand.