Published: 02nd April 2020
Australian scientists start testing potential COVID-19 vaccines
They are also evaluating the best way to give the vaccine for better protection, including an intra-muscular injection and innovative approaches like a nasal spray
Scientists in Australia said on Thursday they have begun testing two potential vaccines for COVID-19 in "milestone" lab trials. The scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said they are testing the COVID-19 vaccine candidates for efficacy.
They are also evaluating the best way to give the vaccine for better protection, including an intra-muscular injection and innovative approaches like a nasal spray. "We have been studying SARS CoV-2 since January and getting ready to test the first vaccine candidates as soon as they are available," Professor Trevor Drew, Director of Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) said in a statement.
"We are carefully balancing operating at speed with the critical need for safety in response to this global public health emergency," said Drew, who is leading CSIRO's COVID-19 virus and vaccine work. The testing, expected to take three months, is underway at CSIRO's high-containment biosecurity facility at AAHL, the researchers said.
To prepare for disease outbreaks, last year CSIRO partnered with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global group that aims to derail epidemics by speeding up the development of vaccines. In January, CEPI engaged CSIRO to start working on the virus SARS CoV-2, which causes the disease COVID-19, they said.
In consultation with the World Health Organisation, CEPI has identified vaccine candidates from the University of Oxford in the UK and Inovio Pharmaceuticals in the US to undergo the first pre-clinical trials at CSIRO, with further candidates likely to follow.
"Beginning vaccine candidate testing at CSIRO is a critical milestone in the fight against COVID-19, made possible by collaboration both within Australia and across the globe," CSIRO Chief Executive, Larry Marshall said in a statement.
"Tackling disease and supporting better health outcomes takes a one-health approach," Marshall said.