Vaccine Trial Centre
             In spite of advancement in medical technology and therapeutics, infectious diseases including diarrhoeal diseases still cause health problems with high morbidity and mortality, particularly in developing tropical countries. To achieve effective control of the diseases, new and better tools for prevention including vaccines are needed. Vaccine development and implementation has been considered of vital importance.
            Recognising the urgent need of another controlled clinical facility for evaluation of reactogenicity and protective efficacy of newly developed vaccines against infectious agents in human, the World Health Organization Special Programme on Control of Diarrhoeal Diseases supported the establishment of such a facility in the tropics, where diarrhoeal diseases are endemic and the vaccines specifically needed are different from Western countries. With the initiation of Professor Dr. Natth Bhamarapravati, then Rector of Mahidol University (MU), the Vaccine trial Centre (VTC) was set up at the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok in February 1984 with the approval of the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand.
            The VTC is a clinical facility in the Faculty of Tropical Medicine  (FTM);  Mahidol University for testing newly developed vaccines that reach the step where evaluation in human volunteers is needed. Individual scientists at any national or international institution may apply to have their vaccines tested at this Centre. It is a joint responsibility of Mahidol University and the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and is operated by the Faculty of Tropical Medicine on their behalf. The establishment of the Centre was started in February 1984, however, the full operation was possible around September-October 1986, and the first admission of volunteers into the ward was on 3 November 1986. The VTC in Bangkok is the first and the only facility of its kind in Thailand, in the region, and perhaps in the developing countries. The advantage of conducting vaccine trials at this Centre is that the studies will be on person residing in an area where the vaccines are going to be utilised most. The knowledge gained will benefit vaccine development and thus lead to effective control of infectious diseases in developing countries.

Physical Facilities
           The Centre occupies the tenth and eleventh floors of the Chamlong Harinasuta Building of the Faculty of Tropical Medicine with a total area of 648 square meters:
A. Self-contained clinical facilities on the 10th floor comprises of :
              -  A twenty bed isolation ward Sufficient  space for                  recreational activities
              -  A nursing section
              -  A doctor's office and quarters
              -  Laboratories
B. Outpatient unit on the 11th floor includes :
              -   A lecture room
              -   Recruitment and screening areas for  volunteers

              -   Follow-up facilities
C. Administrative office on the 11th floor
D. HIV Vaccine Trial Projects on the 9th floor  Anekprasong       Building
              -  Registration and data entry rooms
              -  Volunteer waiting area
              -  Counselling rooms
              -  A physical examination room
              -  A vaccination room
E. Data Management Unit on the 9th floor Anekprasong Building

Financial Sources
     Initial capital costs for the Centre were supported by
            -  United States Agency for International                 Development (USAID)            
            -  International Development Research Centre (IDRC)                Canada             
-  World Health Organization (WHO)
Work Scope
     The VTC was planned to serve as a clinical facility for the evaluation of newly developed vaccines, in terms of reactogenicity, immunogenicity, and protective efficacy against various infectious diseases prevalent in the area. Three disease areas for vaccine studies identified at this time: diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, and viral infections. All volunteer studies are carried out in adults or children with informed consents.The costs of each vaccine study should be borne by either the individual or the institution wanting the vaccine to be tested. It could be supported by funds from interested vaccine developers, pharmaceutical companies, or donor agencies.
Types Of Studies Planned
      -  Evaluation of reactogenicity and immunogenicity of             living (attenuated) and non-living vaccines.
        -  Assessment of vaccine formulation and dose            schedules for optimum immune response.
        -  Evaluation of the efficacy of vaccines for partial or complete            protection from illness.
        -  Study of the pathogenesis and immune response to             pathogenic agents.
        -  Determination of the level and mechanisms of natural            immunity to pathogenic agents.