Australian Vaccine May Be Available For Widespread Use In Early 2021
Scientists in Australia revealed that a vaccine could be in development by September after trials on mice showed promising results.
However, the vaccine is unlikely to be available to the public until early 2021.
University of Queensland researchers said the short timeframe was ‘incredibly ambitious’ but reflected promising results in previous trials.
Project head Trent Munro noted the September timeline was not a far-fetched ambition but said there were numerous obstacles the drug had to overcome before it can be made available for widespread use.
According to professor Munro, human trials could start as early as next July. He warned, however, that the vaccine would not be available widely until early next year if the tests proved effective.
Keith Chappell, co-leader of the project said the vaccine has thus far generated stronger levels of immunity to coronavirus in mice than in recovered human patients.
Currently, around 100 groups worldwide are rushing to develop a vaccine against COVID-19
Recently, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said fellow citizens could only return to normal life once a vaccine is available.
Until that happens, he urged the public to follow the guidelines – which, according to him could last as long as half a year.
The researchers at the University of Queensland are utilizing its molecule clamp technology to create a vaccine – a process involving the stabilizing ‘spike’ proteins and allowing the body to spot and then kill the coronavirus.
‘That’s the goal we have been working to but, yes, I think that is a possibility if everything went to plan,’ Professor Munro shared with The Australian.
See 9 News Australia’s report on the story in the video below.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations requested UQ to use its freshly patented DNA-based molecular clamp technology to develop the vaccine as quickly as possible after the coronavirus started damaging the country back in January.
Doctor Chappell and his 20-strong team of scientists have spent the past 15 months getting ready for a ‘rapid response’.
The technology utilizes the DNA sequence of the virus that broke out in Wuhan, China to create a protein that is identical to the one on the surface of the coronavirus.
The essence of the vaccine lies in that very protein – which is capable of triggering immune system responses that protect humans.
Currently, there are 6,753 coronavirus cases in Australia, with 91 losses of life. 5,715 people have recovered.
Dr. Chapell said:
‘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 added that the earliest time the vaccine would be ready for mass use would be the first half of next year.
Last Wednesday, UQ’s project co-leader Professor Paul Young said the pre-clinical results from growing the virus in cell cultures also suggested the development of the vaccine is going as planned.
Professor Kanta Subbarao from the Doherty Institute, which is working with the University of Queensland, made lab tests with the vaccine samples.
‘This is a very important finding because similar immune responses with SARS vaccines in animal models were shown to lead to protection from infection,’ Professor Subbarao said.
Dutch company Viroclinics Xplore is also working on the vaccine tests and finalizing pre-clinical work in Holland.
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