KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 – Malaysia is joining the global race in creating a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that has killed over 18,000 people worldwide.
“The Institute for Medical Research Malaysia (IMR) will collaborate with Malaysian Vaccines and Pharmaceutical Sdn Bhd (MVP) and Universiti Malaya Tropical Infectious Diseases Research and Education Centre (TIDREC) to begin testing existing local vaccines against the Covid-19 agent,” said IMR in a Facebook post.
The vaccines that will be tested in this research will be those for the Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV), an avian coronavirus.
The testing will be based on previous research in other countries, which discovered that IBV in poultry reportedly have high genetic similarity with human coronavirus.
Therefore, the new partnership hopes to develop a human vaccine using the poultry IBV vaccine.
“If successful, the country will potentially have a human vaccine to go into clinical trials soon,” reported the New Straits Times, citing a statement.
“Under normal circumstances, vaccine development takes 15 to 20 years, and this approach will enable the availability of Covid-19 vaccine sooner than expected.”
The research will be done in Universiti Malaya’s TIDREC, which was where highly pathogenic agents such as MERS coronavirus and Nipah virus were studied.