Scientists in Thailand began testing a potential COVID-19 vaccine on monkeys on Saturday, as part of an independent study.
The 13 long-tailed macaques were injected with their first dose of vaccines and their antibody levels will then be measured after being exposed to SAR-COV2 virus to determine if the vaccine works.
The animals will receive two more doses over the period of three-month trial.
The vaccine is being tested at central Thailand's Chualongkorn University with two public sector partners, harnessing mRNA technology, which unlike older types of trial vaccines, it does not contain the virus.
Instead it utilises a part of the virus' genetic code to ultimately produce antibodies inside the human body.
The head of the National Primate Research Centre of Thailand at Chulalongkorn University, Professor Suchinda Malaivijitnond, said the effort to find a vaccine is for the sake of independence and because it "will be cheaper because it is our own technology".
Suvit Maesincee, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, whose agency is providing the funding for the project said that it is the government's priority to invest in the vaccine to ensure Thailand has a chance of producing adequate supplies for its own people.
Thailand also has several active COVID-19 vaccine development projects, including separate cooperative efforts with China and the United States.
Researchers said while tests on animals are being done, the preparation for the clinical testing on humans is also underway and with the hope that the country can start the human trial before the end of the year.
Scores of vaccine development projects are underway around the world, with several already having reached the stage where trials are carried out on human subjects.