Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation reported success in driving initiatives and gave thanks to higher education institutions and all agencies involved at the “MHESI Helps the Nation through the COVID-19 Crisis” event at Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park Hotel, Bangkok on June 14, 2022. Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC) under the Office of the National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council (NXPO), which is an agency under MHESI, performed important missions to help the nation through the COVID-19 crisis. The health and medical development program of the PMUC has provided funding for research and innovation development in many projects
Research project to assess the immunization potential of the vaccines, as well as the safety of vaccinating with a third dose of vaccine from AstraZeneca or Pfizer/Biontech for Thai adults who have received two doses of inactivated-type COVID-19 vaccine from Sinovac. This research project was a cross-institutional collaboration and there was quality control protocol in place throughout the study in order to achieve reliable research output. The objective of this study was to determine potential effects of a third dose of vaccination to immunize people who had received two doses of Sinovac vaccine, as well as to determine whether half-dose vaccination can improve immunity at a level that can prevent disease, and the length of time elapsed after the second dose vaccine. The results from this study revealed the optimal timing of a third dose of vaccination after two doses of Sinovac vaccine. The research found that vaccine immunity and the efficacy of the third dose of vaccination (Full-dose or half-dose of AZ or PF vaccine) in people who have received 2 doses of SV vaccine has been shown to be safe and deliver satisfactory level of immunity was achieved. The results of such research have supported government policy to prescribe a third dose of vaccination to people who have received 2 doses of Sinovac vaccine in order to induce adequate level of immunity to achieve what is called a herd immunity for effective disease prevention.
Research and development project to increase the convenience and accessibility to the SARS-CoV-2 test kits using Real-Time RT-PCR method, produced by Thai people to replace the Real-time RT-PCR test kit that had to be imported from abroad baring a steep price tag. The diagnostic kit developed by the project is fast, economical and accurate. It can diagnose easily via collected specimens, such as saliva, increasing operator’s safety. The research project resulted in 200,000 SARS-CoV-2 Real-time RTPCR Multiplex Test Kits certified by the FDA, and has also created a collaboration between the government sector, namely the Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public Health, and Siam Bioscience Co., Ltd. The resulting SARSCoV-2 Real-time RT-PCR Multiplex test kit has been licensed, and can be manufactured for commercial use, which is produced by Thai people at low cost.
Project to develop a large-scale production process of an aseptic test kit for SARS-CoV-2 using CRISPR-Cas12a technology developed by researchers from the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University. The research results have been published in an international academic journal (Q1) [Mayuramart et al. , 2020] and intellectual property rights have been registered. As well, a prototype of the test kit has been developed. The end objective of the project is to further develop the prototype into a product that can be manufactured at a large scale in a standardized factory.