“Baiya Vaccine” from Chula — a Testament of Thai Mastery — Coming this September

Chula Pharmacy prepares to test Baiya Vaccinea Thai vaccine against COVID19 by Baiya Phytofarm, a Chula startupThe vaccines have been produced at the first plant in Asia that manufactures plantbased vaccines for humansClinical trials with volunteers and the research for the secondgeneration vaccine to fight the virus variants are to commence in September 2021.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening with the number of infections and deaths climbing daily,  “vaccines” provide us with the  hope that they will help reduce the spread of the virus and mortality rate.

Chula researchers have been developing COVID-19 vaccines including ChulaCov19, an mRNA vaccine developed by the Chula Vaccine Research Center, the Faculty of Medicine, and most recently, “Baiya Vaccine”, another glimpse of hope for Thai people and a testament of Thai mastery that’s coming in September.

“Baiya Vaccine” against COVID-19, produced from plant leaves, by Baiya Phytofarm Co., Ltd. (under CU Enterprise) is the work by two researchers: Asst. Prof. Dr. Suthira Taychakhoonavudh and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Waranyoo Phoolcharoen, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chulalongkorn University.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Suthira Taychakhoonavudh and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Waranyoo Phoolcharoen, Faculty of Pharmacy, Chulalongkorn University
Asst. Prof. Dr. Suthira Taychakhoonavudh
and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Waranyoo Phoolcharoen

“Baiya Vaccine against COVID-19 is a subunit vaccine that has been produced for a long time in other countries using plants, insects, etc., while some countries like Canada and South Korea use plant leaves,” said Asst. Prof. Dr. Suthira, CEO and Co-founder of Baiya Phytofarm Co., Ltd.

“This vaccine uses heirloom tobacco leaves from Australia to function as the virus’ non-pathogenic genetic materials.  When injected into the body, the vaccine will boost our immunity to fight the infection.”

Asst. Prof. Dr. Suthira Taychakhoonavudh, Faculty of Pharmacy, Chulalongkorn University
Asst. Prof. Dr. Suthira Taychakhoonavudh

Timeline: Baiya Vaccine is ready for testing this September

After receiving the prototype vaccine in February 2020, the researchers completed the vaccine test in lab animals (e.g. mice, and monkeys) in August 2020 and found that the vaccine was highly effective in boosting the animals’ immunity.  Then, in October 2020, construction of the vaccine plant began at Chulapat Building 14, Chulalongkorn University, until completion in June 2021.  The plant covers 1,200 sq m. and has a production capacity of one – five million doses of vaccines per month.

“In August 2021, we will accept an application for the first group of 50 volunteers aged 18-60 years old for the first clinical trial of the vaccine.  The volunteers must be healthy and have never been vaccinated before. Testing will begin in September, and volunteers will receive two doses of the vaccine, three weeks apart.  Once the test with the first group of volunteers is complete, we will continue to test the vaccine on the subjects aged 60–75 years old,” continued Asst. Prof. Dr. Suthira who expected that the vaccines will be ready for Thai people in mid-2022 at 300-500 baht per dose.

Meanwhile, researchers have also been developing the second generation of Baiya Vaccine for the COVID-19 variants.  The vaccine’s efficiency in boosting the immune will be improved, and it is expected to be ready to test on volunteers by the end of 2021. 

Baiya Vaccine by Thai researchers for Thai people

Asst. Prof. Dr. Suthira emphasized the value of this research project that Baiya Vaccine is a completely Thai vaccine from upstream to downstream. The project employs over 50 Thai researchers and hundreds of supporting staff.

“The ability to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines by ourselves gives Thailand stability in healthcare and enables the research application to benefit the general public, while serving as another important milestone in the development in the pharmaceutical industry in Thailand,” Asst. Prof. Dr. Suthira added with pride.  

To donate for Baiya vaccine development

Those interested in donating to support the development of Baiya Vaccines can find more details at https://www.cuenterprise.co.th/ or Facebook: CUEnterprise.

Chula’s encouragement and support for research is excellent for teachers, students, and the public.

Associate Professor Dr. Suchana Chavanich Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University

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