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Health

Thailand delays human testing for coronavirus vaccine

FILE PHOTO: A medical personnel performs a nose swab test on a local resident of a community in Bangkok, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Thailand, April 28, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand will delay human trials of its coronavirus vaccine due to limited production capacity at overseas facilities, a senior official said on Wednesday, but it hopes to resume trials by the end of the year.

Thai health authorities had planned human testing of the vaccine by October, but must delay that by several months as factories abroad are at full capacity, said Kiat Ruxrungtham, director of the Chulalongkorn University vaccine development programme.

The delay will be a setback for Thailand’s push to quickly create its own vaccine and comes as developers worldwide race to complete trials and secure regulatory approval.

A race is on among countries to guarantee a supply amid concern about competition for access, with Britain and the United States in the lead in securing six vaccine deals with drugmakers each.

Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday approved a budget of 1 billion baht ($31.8 million) for vaccines, 60% of which would be invested in Oxford University’s vaccine programme and the remainder in its domestic programme.

Thailand has reported 3,403 confirm cases of the coronavirus and 58 deaths. It has gone without a local transmission for more than three months.

Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Martin Petty

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