Vaccines are the only way for the nation to walk out of the Covid-19 nightmare. As for Malaysia, the nation had been facing supply issues which then led to us failing to achieve the herd immunity threshold in time.
As an effort to reduce the reliance of vaccines from other countries, Ministry of Health (MOH) had previously announced that Malaysia is developing our very own version of the Covid-19 vaccine.
According to The Star, Institute for Medical Research (IMR) Director, Dr Tahir Aris in their interview mention that such a move is important to continue our defence against the coronavirus. He also mention that Malaysia should not rely wholly on imported vaccine supplies.
In addition, they are still conducting studies to determine whether booster shots are required to stay protected, and they may even need it yearly.
He mention that the vaccines they are developing will take into consideration the various variants that could possibly cause another Covid-19 outbreak, and currently, they variant of concern is the Delta strain.
“We are hoping this vaccine will be effective against these emerging variants.” he added.
Nonetheless, he said that the progress of the project had been positive and the inactivated vaccine will undergo pre-clinical trials involving animals next month at the Veterinary Research Institute facility in Ipoh, Perak.
“The tests will take around six months before we can move forward with clinical trials involving humans next year, between the end of 2022 and the middle of 2023.”
“As such, we hope that the vaccine will be ready in 2024.” he added.
After that, it will depend on the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) to approve the usage of their vaccines. Dr Tahir added that they have meet all the regulatory conditions and they can think about the production after approval had been obtained.
Responding to the matter on whether it is too late for Malaysia to develop its own vaccine, Dr Tahir said that Malaysia has been purchasing many vaccines from other countries. Nonetheless, it is not sure whether these vaccines are a one-off vaccine or annual boosters are required.
Hence, it will still be beneficial to Malaysia if we were able to produce our own vaccines.
“Even if it is too late, the most important thing is that we would have the ability to develop vaccines for future pandemics. This vaccine technology can be applied to other viruses, bacteria or immunotherapies.” he added.
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Watch the full interview here: