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The Bangkok Podcast

Jul 26, 2022

In the last episode of Season 5, Greg interviews Samaporn Teeravechyan, also known as Dr. Joy. Dr. Joy works at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, essentially the arm of the Thai government that focuses on scientific research. She explains that her expertise is in virology, and that she received her Phd in the United States after moving around the world as a child. Currently, Dr. Joy’s focus is on the development of a nasal vaccine for COVID-19.

Greg asks Dr. Joy why Thailand is not particularly well known for scientific research and that leads to an extensive discussion of the issue. First, although things have gotten better, the total amount of funding for research and development provided by the Thai government is significantly less than in Western countries. Second, to make matters even worse, her field relies on specimens and materials only available in the U.S., and due to transportation and customs costs, Thai labs have to pay more. Add to that all the delays involved, even though virological research is often very time sensitive. Last, Thailand’s political instability makes funding even more uncertain, so you can clearly see the types of obstacles Thai researchers face compared to more developed countries. 

Next, Greg questions Dr. Joy about the specifics of her current research on an intra-nasal vaccine for COVID-19, and why such a vaccine may prove superior to the current ones on the market. The two finish off their discussion with a few very exciting and promising lines of research currently being conducted in labs funded by the Thai government. 

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