PATH congratulates Thailand on granting conditional approval for emergency use to first locally produced COVID-19 vaccine

January 17, 2024 by PATH

The NDV-HXP-S COVID-19 vaccine produced by Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) has the potential to be an affordable option that advances vaccine supply sustainability and pandemic preparedness.

PATH welcomes the news that Thailand’s national regulatory authority has granted conditional approval for emergency use of medicinal products to GPO’s NDV-HXP-S COVID-19 vaccine (HXP-GPOVac). The approval allows the vaccine to be brought to market as a booster vaccination for people 18 years of age and older for public health emergency use. This achievement marks the first approval of a domestically produced COVID-19 vaccine in Thailand and is an important step for advancing vaccine security and emergency readiness in the country.

The vaccine is based on a novel platform that brings together traditional egg-based vaccine production technology with cutting-edge science via a consortium of collaborators that includes GPO and other vaccine manufacturers in Vietnam and Brazil, US-based scientists, and PATH. The innovative design works by using another virus, inactivated Newcastle disease virus (NDV), as its building block. It is made in chicken eggs in much the same way as traditional influenza vaccines in widespread use, meaning that established egg-based vaccine manufacturers, like GPO, can adapt existing facilities to affordably produce it at industrial scale. It can also be produced rapidly and kept in regular refrigerators for weeks, making it practical for delivery. Beyond COVID, it’s a platform that could be applied to other diseases as well.

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, United States, developed the NDV vaccine technology and provided the seed virus to GPO, who drove the vaccine’s development program in Thailand. The vaccine also includes a key stabilized spike protein, HexaPro, developed at The University of Texas at Austin in the United States by the same team that developed an earlier stabilized spike protein used in several COVID-19 vaccines in use around the world. The stabilized spike protein is what helps the body’s immune system recognize and build defenses against COVID-19 infection. PATH, with funding from CEPI, supported the consortium’s efforts as a connector, facilitator, and technical advisor in alignment with our commitment to advancing immunization equity.

“PATH congratulates GPO and Thailand on this exciting milestone. We’re proud to have been part of the journey,” says Dr. Bruce Innis, former global head of respiratory infections and maternal immunization in PATH’s Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access and director of PATH's NDV-HXP-S vaccine project. “Now, Thailand has a locally produced COVID-19 booster option that could help sustainably protect its population at less cost, pave the way for other country egg-based vaccine manufacturers, and provide a real-world use case for NDV-HXP-S as a new vaccine platform with broad public health potential.”