World-leading Australian scientists say a vaccine may be ready for widespread use at the start of next year – and that’s under an ‘incredibly ambitious’ timeline
Australian scientists say a vaccine could be ready for production by September after tests on mice yielded promising results – but not available for widespread use until early next year.
Scientists from the University of Queensland said the fast-tracked timeline was ‘incredibly ambitious’ but reflected overwhelming success in pre-clinical trials.
Project leader Trent Munro said the September goal for mass production was a realistic possibility, but that there were many more hurdles their drug had to jump through before it was available to the Australian public.
Professor Munro said testing on humans could begin as early as July – but warned the vaccine would not be available for wide-scale use until early 2021 of those trials proved effective.
Australian researchers from the University of Queensland have said their pioneering vaccine could be ready for production by September
Scientists could start trialling the vaccine on humans after the final results from the pre-clinical tests arrive inJuly
Project co-leader Keith Chappell said the vaccine was already generating higher levels of immunity to the virus in mice than in recovered human COVID-19 patients.
It comes as about 100 groups of researchers globally race to develop a vaccine to neutralise SARS-CoV2 – the novel virus strain which causes the coronavirus.
In April, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said only a vaccine would allow Australians to permanently return to normal life.
Until then, he urged Australians to buckle down for restrictive social distancing measures – a time period which he said could be as long as six months.
The UQ scientists are using its molecular clamp technology to develop a vaccine – a pioneering process which involves stabilising ‘spike’ proteins and allowing the body to recognise and then eliminate the coronavirus.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pictured with the researchers’ program leader Professor Trent Munro
The vaccine was developed using molecular clamp technology that locks the ‘spike’ protein into a shape
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,746
New South Wales: 3,016
‘That’s the goal we have been working to but, yes, I think that is a possibility if everything went to plan,’ Professor Munro told The Australian.
‘That [vaccine] may not be fully tested, it may not be ready for distribution, so I am not trying to give you caveats, I am just trying to be realistic. But our goal was really to demonstrate at-scale manufacturing in that type of time-frame.’
He said it could be the first half of 2021 at the earliest before the vaccine is ready for mass distribution.
The university’s project co-leader Professor Paul Young on Wednesday said the pre-clinical results from growing the virus in cell cultures also indicated the vaccine’s development is going to plan.
Professor Kanta Subbarao of the Doherty Institute, which is working with UQ, tested the vaccine samples in the laboratory.
‘This is a very important finding because similar immune responses with SARS vaccines in animal models were shown to lead to protection from infection,’ Prof Subbarao said.
Dutch company Viroclinics Xplore is also collaborating on the vaccine tests and finalising pre-clinical work in the Netherlands.
The latest fatalities take Australia’s death toll to 88, while 6,729 people have been infected and at least 5,624 have recovered
Queensland University researchers have used rapid response technology to develop a vaccine, which took three weeks to produce.
China’s coronavirus vaccine candidate is ‘effective and safe’ on animals, study claims
A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese researchers has been proven effective and safe after conducting clinical trials on animals, a study from China has said.
A research group from the country published the study on Sunday after successfully testing the vaccine candidate on macaques and mice.
The medical report also indicated that the inactivated vaccine, known as PiCoVacc, can trigger an immune response in animals to protect them against the virus strain.
A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese researchers has been proven effective and safe after conducting clinical trials on animals, a study has said. The picture shows microbiologist with a tube of biological sample labelled as COVID-19
The new study comes as scientists around the world have been racing to find a cure to the deadly disease. Chinese researchers have launched human trials on three vaccine candidates.
According to the report, researchers injected groups of mice and macaques with different doses of the potential vaccine.
The vaccine was proven safe and efficient after neither infection enhancement or adverse effects were observed in the study.
The scientists also noted that the study provided extensive evidence for the clinical development of potential COVID-19 vaccines, but further vaccine experiments on animals are needed.
Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist at Wuhan University, told Chinese media that the results from the study are convincing as macaques are more closely related to humans.
The university received a request from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to use its newly patented DNA-based molecular clamp technology to fast-track the vaccine after the virus hit Australia’s shores in January.
Dr Chappell and his team of 20 researchers have spent the last 15 months preparing for a ‘rapid response’.
The technology uses the DNA sequence of the coronavirus released by China to produce a protein that’s the same as the one on the surface of the actual virus.
That protein will be the essence of the vaccine, capable of generating immune system responses that protect people.