University of Queensland Doses 1st COVID-19 Vaccine Study Participant

COVID-19 vaccine candidate produced by Queenslanders at the University of Queensland
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(Precision Vaccinations)

The University of Queensland (UQ) proudly announced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate successfully moved out of the lab and into human trials.

Beginning on July 13, 2020, about 120 adult volunteers, between the ages of 18 and 55, will soon receive their first dose of the vaccine at the Brisbane clinic, which is located on Australia’s east coast.

The clinical batch of vaccine for use in this trial was manufactured in a close partnership between UQ and researchers at CSIRO’s advanced biologics production facility in Melbourne, with technical assistance from Australian biotech company CSL, Brisbane based Patheon, and Cytiva (formerly GE Life Sciences).

Nucleus Network Principal Investigator and infectious diseases expert Associate Professor Paul Griffin said participants would receive 2-doses of the UQ vaccine candidate during the trial.

“Participants are thoroughly assessed so we know that they are fit and healthy and eligible to take part, and we will follow them closely through regular monitoring for 12 months,” Dr. Griffin said.

UQ vaccine project co-leader Professor Paul Young said in a press statement, “The green light to move into this first phase of human trials follows extensive pre-clinical testing that started when we first selected our lead vaccine candidate on February 14, 2020.”

“This testing showed that the vaccine was effective in inducing antibodies that were able to neutralize this coronavirus.” 

And, “Further studies have shown that the vaccine was safe to give to people.”

Professor Young said the team will be following the trial closely.

“We expect to have preliminary results after about three months, and if all goes well, we can move as fast as we can to the next stage in the vaccine’s development.

“That will be a larger trial with people from a range of ages, to ensure the vaccine works across the board”

Queensland Minister for State Development, Tourism, and Innovation Kate Jones congratulated the UQ team on reaching another important milestone.

“We invested millions into this research because we know a vaccine is crucial to defeating COVID-19,” Ms. Jones said.

“Our vaccine – made in Queensland by Queenslanders could save millions of lives throughout the world.”

UQ vaccine co-leader Associate Professor Keith Chappell said the pace of the project had been relentless and it had been a fantastic achievement to move so quickly into clinical trials.

“We have reached this important stage with help from our collaborators including those at the Australian National University and the Doherty Institute, who are playing a key role in assessing immune responses to the vaccine,” Dr. Chappell said.

UQ was tasked by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to develop a rapid response vaccine against the novel coronavirus in January 2020, supported by an initial investment of up to US $4.5 million.

Project director Professor Trent Munro said the team had known from the beginning that they would need to advance the manufacturing component of the development pipeline to run alongside clinical trials.

“Alongside CEPI, we announced a manufacturing partnership with CSL in June 2020,” Professor Munro said.

“If things go to plan, CSL will rapidly advance the production of tens of millions of doses and move the program into later-stage clinical testing, regulatory approval, large-scale manufacture, and distribution.”

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.

COVID-19 vaccine development news published by Precision Vaccinations.