Scientists at the University of Queensland have reported positive indications about the potential effectiveness and manufacturability of its COVID-19 vaccine based on pre-clinical testing.
Project co-leader Associate Professor Keith Chappell said the neutralizing immune response created by the molecular clamp vaccine in animal models was better than the average level of antibodies found in patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
“In hamster models, the vaccine combined with the Seqirus MF59® adjuvant, provided protection against virus replication, and reduced lung inflammation following exposure to the virus,” Dr Chappell said.
“It also induces a strong T-cell response and showed strong results when it came to data relating to manufacturability.”
Dr Chappell added that a major challenge when it comes to the development of vaccines is the ability to produce them at sufficient scale for widespread use.
“We are working with CSL to ensure the production yield is as efficient as possible, and have every confidence they will be able to manufacture the millions of doses required to protect the Australian public.”
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) and UQ announced a partnership with CSL in June to rapidly advance production and move the program into later stage clinical testing, regulatory approval, large-scale manufacture and distribution if clinical trials prove successful. The clinical work was also conducted with TetraQ, Australian National University (ANU), the University of Melbourne and the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
Queensland’s Innovation Minister Kate Jones recognised the results as a huge milestone in the development of a Queensland vaccine.
“A vaccine is vital in putting an end to this pandemic. That’s why the government has thrown its support behind UQ with $10 million in funding to fast-track this research,” Ms Jones said.
“The sooner we can produce a coronavirus vaccine, the sooner life will get back to normal for millions of Queenslanders who have been impacted by this pandemic.”
The Queensland Government has provided $10 million Advance Queensland funding for the vaccine project, the Federal Government has contributed $5 million and more than $10 million has been provided by philanthropic and other donors.