BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand on Saturday began testing a vaccine against the coronavirus on monkeys after positive trials in mice, an official said.

    Thailand’s minister of higher education, science, and research and innovation, Suvit Maesincee, said researchers had moved testing of the vaccine to monkeys and hoped to have a “clearer outcome” of its effectiveness by September.

    “This project is for the human race, not just Thais. The prime minister (Prayuth Chan-ocha) has outlined a policy that we must develop a vaccine and join the world community workforce on this,” Suvit told reporters on Saturday.

Thailand announced on Wednesday that it was developing a vaccine – one of at least 100 potential vaccines in the works worldwide – and hoped to have it into production by next year https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-thailand/thailand-says-it-expects-coronavirus-vaccine-next-year-after-tests-in-mice-idUSKBN22W0I8.

Suvit said that Thailand has started reserving two manufacturers for its vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Since the new virus emerged in China late last year, COVID-19 has spread around the world, infecting more than 5 million people and killing more than 300,000.

    The Thai vaccine uses messenger RNA, which prompts body cells to produce antigens, molecules on the surface of viruses, that spur the immune system into action.

    The Thai vaccine is being developed by the National Vaccine Institute, the Department of Medical Science and Chulalongkorn University’s vaccine research center.

(Reporting and writing by Juarawee Kittisilpa. Editing by Kay Johnson and Ros Russell)