The British Embassy in Bangkok announced on October 12 that Thailand has agreed to manufacture and supply AstraZeneca Plc's experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the southeast Asian nation and other neighbouring countries. The embassy said that the Thai Ministry of Public Health, AstraZeneca, Siam Bioscience and SCG announced their intent to manufacture the potential COVID-19 vaccine in Thailand.
“If the vaccine is successful, Thailand will receive doses with the aim of commencing the vaccination of the Thai population in the first half of 2021,” the embassy said in a statement, without specifying the number of doses or financial term of the deal.
Thailand's Ministry of Public Health said in a separate statement that AstraZeneca is providing the potential vaccine at no profit and would work with Siam Bioscience to set up manufacturing facilities. AstraZeneca has resumed its Phase 3 trial in the UK following a brief pause due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.
The decision to put the trial on hold came after leading biopharma companies signed a pledge to continue to make the safety and well-being of vaccinated individuals the top priority in the development of the first COVID-19 vaccines. The companies include AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna, Inc. among others.
The COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca start producing coronavirus spike protein after it enters cells. The spike protein prompts the immune system to produce antibodies and trigger T-cells to destroy the infected cells. If the individual encounters the novel coronavirus, the antibodies and T-cells are activated to fight the virus.
Last month, the Australian government signed a $1.7 billion supply and production agreement under which the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and the University of Queensland/CSL will provide more than 84.8 million vaccine doses. The government struck a deal with CSL Ltd to manufacture two potential coronavirus vaccines - one developed by Oxford University/AstraZeneca and the other by CSL’s own labs in collaboration with the University of Queensland.