Chulalongkorn University Launches “COVID-19 Vaccine for Thais” Campaign

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Anutin Charnvirakul, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Health chaired the opening ceremony of the “Covid-19 Vaccine for Thais” campaign launched by Chulalongkorn University (CU) Enterprise Foundation. The campaign targets to raise 500 Baht from each of one million Thais to support research and development of Covid-19 vaccine from plant leaves.

During the launch of the campaign at Chulalongkorn University Auditorium on Monday, CU Enterprise Foundation signed a partnership agreement with other organizational representatives such as Dr Witoon Danwiboon, director-general of the Government Pharmaceutical Company (GPO), Dr Suthira Dejkhunnavuth, CEO and co–founder of Baiya Phytopharm Co Ltd, and Marut Buranaetkul, chief executive officer of Kingen Biotech Co Ltd.

Called ‘Team Thailand,’ their partnership will lead to the successful development of the Covid-19 vaccine that will enter human trial before June 2021. The event is also joined by
Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Bandit Euaporn, President of Chulalongkorn University, and Montira Nopharatana, vice president of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi.

Anutin Charnvirakul, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Health, said that the government had put consistent effort into securing Covid-19 vaccine for 66.5 million Thais. Public Health Ministry has reserved 26 million doses of vaccine, covering 13 million Thais, from the UK-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. It plans to secure more vaccines from other sources, including the vaccine developed and produced by Thai researchers.

“We need to do both ways; importing vaccines from foreign countries and supporting vaccine produced in Thailand,” he said. “We are hopeful and proud [of the partnership] that will strengthen Thailand’s capacity in producing vaccine from upstream to downstream. Public Health Ministry will give full support through our organizations including the National Vaccine Institute, GPO, Food and Drug Administration, and Department of Medical Sciences. The success of Covid-19 Vaccine for Thais campaign will help our country get through this difficult time and return back to normal.”

Anek Laothamatas, Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, praised Chulalongkorn University for its prompt response to his ministry’s policy. Chulalongkorn University established CU Enterprise as a holding company to support startups, including Baiya Phytopharm Co Ltd, a Thai startup run from the university’s faculty of pharmaceutical sciences. The company has developed Covid-19 vaccine from plant leaves and succeeded in laboratory testing.

“Apart from being Thailand’s new hope, Baiya Phytopharm’s progress in Covid-19 vaccine development will prove the potential of Thai pharmaceutical industry. It will ensure health security of Thai people and generate revenues for the country,” said Mr Anek.

Bandit Euaporn, President of Chulalongkorn University, said that the establishment of CU Enterprise holding company and CU Enterprise Foundation was an answer to the call of Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation. The company has supported Baiya Phytopharm to develop Covid-19 vaccine and welcomed the partnership with GPO and Kingen Biotech Co Ltd.

“Covid-19 Vaccine for Thais campaign will support the research and development of Covid-19 vaccine by Thai researchers. We would like to invite one million Thais to take part in ‘Team Thailand’ by donating 500 baht each. The donation will start from 18 December, 9 AM onward,” said Mr Bandit.

Every donor will get a discount when paying a premium to new personal insurance issued by insurance companies joining the campaign. Each donor can reserve the Covid-19 vaccine in advance and get access to the vaccine after it is commercially launched, or after the vaccine is distributed to persons accordingly to regulation or Thai government’s policy.