Australian Covid-19 vaccine ready for later-stage clinical trials

A Covid-19 vaccine in development by Australia’s University of Queensland (UQ) was declared ready to progress to later-stage clinical trials ahead of schedule on Friday, following promising Phase 1 results.

Regulatory approval was being sought for the vaccine to progress to Phase 3 clinical trials before the end of the year, with a timeline for widespread distribution to occur in late 2021, reports Xinhua news agency.

Co-leader of the UQ vaccine project and leading Australian virologist, Professor Paul Young said that Phase 1 clinical trials had shown the vaccine to be safe and effective at eliciting an antibody response.

“Early data out of Phase 1 clinical trial says that the vaccine is safe and well-tolerated when given, there’s very little in the way of adverse events on injection of the vaccine,” Young said.

“And it also induces a strong immune response, particularly a neutralizing antibody response, that is equivalent to or in excess of what is seen in patients who have recovered from live virus infection.”

Additionally Young said that lower doses of the vaccine had proved equally effective at inducing the immune response, meaning the manufacturing of the vaccine will be more efficient in terms of dosage numbers.

The university was partnered with local biotech firm CSL, to undertake manufacturing of the vaccine, with the capacity to rapidly produce tens of millions of doses at the company’s Australian facilities.

“Our national goal is to ensure that all Australians who seek to be vaccinated, are vaccinated by the end of 2021,” said Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.

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