It is reassuring to see in the rest of the world, including Thailand, COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in order to curb the spread and reduce the risk for severe symptoms if infected. Another hope is on the horizon as Thai researchers are researching and developing medicine to treat COVID-19 and locally developed COVID-19 vaccines to offer both treatment and prevention. The research involves complicated steps and must pass through many tests to ensure safety and effectiveness. Such research requires a lot of financial support.
Pichai Chirathivat, Executive Director of Central Group, said, “Central Group and affiliated companies are aware of the impact of COVID-19 and its wide-reaching damage on our economy, society and public health. We have to continue monitoring the situation, and many organizations are currently working hard to research and develop ways to stop the spread. This requires big budgets and support in order for them to achieve their goals. Therefore, Central Group is creating a new phenomenon in Thailand’s research and development by introducing Help Thais Fight COVID-19 which is under our main CSV initiative Central Tham. We invite the public and our partners to make contributions to the research and development for treatment and vaccines for COVID-19 by Thai doctors. The contributions will be offered to the Medical Association of Thailand Under Royal Patronage through Tiang Chirathivat Foundation during March-December 2021. The funds raised will support research projects by three organizations, namely:
- Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital
- Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University
- Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University
Additionally, contributions will also be made to other research projects related to COVID-19 or through the Medical Association of Thailand Under Royal Patronage. The funds raised will be used to support research on how to stop the spread, prevent severe symptoms, and develop vaccines locally by Thai researchers. If successful, 68 million Thais will have more access to COVID-19 treatment and prevention, and the medicine can be distributed to other countries. However, maintaining personal hygiene by washing hands frequently and wearing masks in public places is the best prevention method against COVID-19.
As retail and service industry leaders of Thailand, Central Group and affiliated companies will fully adhere to hygiene and safety measures to assure customers, with prevention methods that cover all lifestyles: shopping, entertainment, dining, and relaxation.
Prof. Amorn Leelarasamee, MD, President of the Medical Association of Thailand, and the advisor of the project, said, “There have been urgent research projects to confirm findings from in vitro studies to see if they are effective in treating patients and protecting the public, as well as stopping community spread. The MAT recognizes that there are still gaps in research projects which need to be addressed urgently, such as new academic information, faster and more modern approval and research processes, and studies in a large group of patients or people, in order to confirm that the methods can be utilized in humans. This requires support both in terms of medical teams and financial support from the private sector, to ensure that the final phase of trials can happen as soon as possible in order to benefit the public and COVID-19 patients.”
Having Central Group and affiliated companies lead the fundraising to support the MAT in the final phase of trial in patients and the public is a significant collaboration that will lead to great results and innovations in treating and preventing COVID-19. The MAT will work closely with Thai researchers from Faculties of Medicine in internationally acclaimed universities to facilitate the final phase of the trial to ensure that it can be safely used in humans. The results will benefit COVID-19 patients and the public, alongside safety measures to stop the spread in public places, so that we can control the spread of COVID-19 as soon as possible.
“The MAT expresses our appreciation for Central Group and affiliated companies, as well as the general public, for trusting us and recognizing the importance of the final human trial phase. With the funds raised to support these projects, Thai researchers can soon come up with solutions to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Thailand and make Thailand free from COVID-19 sooner.”
Prof. Prasert Auewarakul, MD, Deputy Dean for Research, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, talked about Siriraj Hospital’s research projects. “In the initial phase, the most pressing issue was the epidemiology of big clusters, and the effectiveness of various measures in controlling the spread in order to ensure that the pandemic was under control. Following that phase, the important topic for research was medication and medicine combinations that would treat patients, reduce the severity or prevent infection effectively, focusing on using affordable and readily available medicine.”
Lect. Voraphoj Nilaratanakul, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Dean for Research Affairs, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, talked about the progress of COVID-19 research projects by Chulalongkorn University, “Since the first case of COVID-19 outside China was confirmed, our professors, researchers and doctors have started researching about COVID-19 in various aspects, including knowledge about the virus and practical ways to address the pandemic, such as Rapid Test kits, vaccine development which has entered a human trial phase, Bio Bank to collect information and biospecimens from COVID-19 patients, COVID-19 severity prediction using artificial intelligence, genetic characteristics of Thais related to COVID-19 treatment and responsiveness to treatment, plasma or antibodies as treatment, and responsiveness to antibodies and vaccines. More research budgets mean we can explore new topics and expand on existing ones to meet the needs of the Thai society.”
Those who are interested can make their contribution through the following channels:
- Donations to Tiang Chirathivat Foundation, Siam Commercial Bank, account number 002-2-84631-9 or scan E-donation QR code at Central Department Stores.
- Donations to www.tham-dee.com/projects/help-thai-fight-covid19.
- Donation boxes at cashier and information counters at Central Group’s shopping malls such as Central Shopping Centers, Central Department Stores, Robinson Department Stores, Robinson Lifestyle Centers, Central Embassy, PowerBuy, Tops Supermarket, FamilyMart, B2S, Office Mate, Thai Watsadu, Baan and Beyond, and Central Marketing Group’s stores.
- With every dish of participating menus at Central Restaurant Group’s restaurants, a 9-baht contribution is made. Only for participating dishes at participating CRG restaurants (March 15 - May 15, 2021).
- Central Food Retail Limited will donate 5 baht for 500 baht spent per receipt at Tops Market, Tops Superstore, and Central Food Hall, and 1 baht for 100 baht spent per receipt at Tops Daily and FamilyMart (April 1 - June 30, 2021).
- The 1 members can contribute by redeeming points for donations, starting from 150 points, through The 1 application (March 8 - December 31, 2021).
- Join Charity Workshops (April 1-18, 2021) and purchase Charity T-Shirts (July 1-4, 2021) at Central Embassy.
- Centara Group’s hotels and resorts will donate a part of the proceeds from the sales of credit vouchers worth 2,000 baht or more (May-June 2021).
- Supersports will donate 100 baht for every participating S Sports mask sold (March 8 - December 31, 2021).
- At PowerBuy, redeem 200 The 1 points for a 25-baht donation (March - December 31, 2021).
- Central Marketing Group will contribute with any purchase of participating items (May 1 - December 31, 2021).
- Office Mate and B2S will donate 5 baht with 500 baht or more spent per receipt (April - December 31, 2021).
- On JD Central, purchase Donation Vouchers or redeem HD Points as donations through JD CENTRAL app (April 16 - December 31, 2021).
- Central Insurance Services will donate 100,000 baht, raised from employees, customers, partners, and additional donations from every insurance sold by phone via Central Smart Insure, 10 baht per insurance (April - June 30, 2021).
- Dolfin Wallet will offer a donation channel on Dolfin app (May - December 31, 2021).
- Other channels through Central Group Businesses and partners
- Donations through Central Group’s partners such as AIS, Central The1 Credit Card, and Central The1 First Choice.
- Check other donation methods at www.centralgroup.com/en/help-thai-fight-covid19
Central Group believes that when Thai people have access to good medicine and vaccines, we can resume our normal lives faster and revive the economy in all levels, including the tourism sector.