Early testing of a potential COVID-19 vaccine being worked on by the University of Queensland has resulted in “positive indications” about its possible effectiveness in humans.
The findings from the pre-clinical trials conducted on hamsters have been reported to the International Society for Vaccines by project co-leader and UQ Associate Professor Keith Chappell.
“The neutralising immune response created by our molecular clamp vaccine in animal models was better than the average level of antibodies found in patients who have recovered from COVID-19,” Prof Chappell said in a statement on Wednesday.
In the hamsters trial, the potential vaccine – when combined with MF59 technology developed by Seqirus, a unit of Australian biotechnology group CSL – provided protection against virus replication and reduced lung inflammation following exposure to the virus.
“It also induces a strong T-cell response and showed strong results when it came to data relating to manufacturability,” Prof Chappell said.
Researchers say one of the biggest challenges in developing a vaccine for COVID-19 is the ability to produce enough 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,” Prof Chappell said.
Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the results were a huge milestone in the development of a vaccine in the state.
Meanwhile, the federal government is supporting an initiative to help Pacific and Southeast Asian countries access a coronavirus vaccine.
The government has put $80 million towards the Gavi COVAX Facility Advance Market Commitment, alongside other donors including the UK, Canada, Italy and Norway.
“International investment in vaccine manufacturing and procurement is stronger when nations work together,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.