NVI elevated to Program Management Unit for vaccine research and innovation
The National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council has announced the National Vaccine Institute (NVI) as a Program Management Unit (PMU) through which the NVI will be responsible for managing national funding for vaccine research, development and manufacturing in Thailand from the fiscal year 2023 onward.
The Government Gazette on February 7, 2022, published the announcement of the National Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Policy Council concerning classification of research and innovation organisations B.E. 2564, dated November 17, 2021. The classification comprises five agencies defined by their roles and duties: 1) policy, strategy and planning; 2) budgeting and fundraising; 3) research and innovation; 4) standards testing, quality services and knowledge management, and; 5) an agency to capitalise on each agency’s work.
NVI is categorised as a funding agency providing funds for the development and management of science, research and innovation to drive technology and innovation to create positive economic and social impacts for the country as a whole. In particular, as part of national strategic fund management, NVI is responsible for the management of funds made available from the Science, Research and Innovation Promotion Fund, as required throughout the vaccine value chain, from research and development to production and commercialisation. This role is consistent with the NVI’s objectives in its capacity as a governmental non-profit organisation, responsible for promoting, supporting and conducting research, development, production and distribution of vaccines, as defined by the National Vaccine Security Act B.E. 2561 (2018). Moreover, NVI’s objective is to ensure timely, sufficient quality, and quantity of vaccines for use in both normal and emergency situations so as to lead to national vaccine security. NVI also aims to promote and support human resource development of vaccine personnel in accordance with the said Act.
In the fiscal year, B.E. 2566 (2023), NVI is accepting applications for general research grants within a funding framework consistent with the National Vaccine Security Strategic Policy and Plan 2023-2027 and the Science, Research and Innovation Plan 2023-2027. The research grants cover: 1) development of a prototype vaccine under the Subunit protein, Viral vector, and mRNA technology platforms, with priority given to diseases caused by the Beta-Corona and Dengue viruses; 2) development of a recombinant biological drug for treatment of botulinum toxin; and 3) clinical trials as well as registration of a phase 2b/3 COVID-19 vaccine following Thai FDA guidance.
NVI intends that the grants will promote novel vaccine research and development in Thailand and also promote home-grown COVID-19 vaccines that can be registered through NRA locally. NVI also intends to promote research and development of vaccines against other diseases that are national public health problems, mostly in alignment with the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and prioritised emerging diseases e.g. HPV, Dengue, and MERS. This is seen as encompassing forming a stronger infrastructure that supports vaccine research and development as well as increasing professional vaccine manpower to conduct research and development and help the country move forward to ”Vaccine Security and Self-Reliance in a Sustainable Way”.