An Australian-developed Covid-19 vaccine has shown promising results in pre-clinical testing, raising hopes for its potential effectiveness and manufacturability.
The University of Queensland (UQ) released detailed results of animal trials of its vaccine candidate on Tuesday to the International Society for Vaccines, Xinhua news agency reported. UQ's "Molecular Clamp" vaccine works by locking on to the normally unstable, perfusion proteins on the surface of the virus, allowing the body's immune system to respond more effectively.
"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," Project co-leader Associate Professor Keith Chappell said.
Phase 1 human trials for the drug commenced in Australia in July, prior to the current pre-clinical trial results being made public. Chappell said if everything proceeded as planned, large-scale manufacturing efficacy assessments could move ahead before the end of the year.
"One of the big challenges in the development of vaccines is the ability to produce them at sufficient scale for widespread use," Chappell explained. In June, UQ revealed an agreement with Australian biotechnology giant CSL to locally manufacture millions of doses of the vaccine should it continue to prove viable throughout the rest of the trial process.
Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones said a vaccine was vital for putting an end to the pandemic and the team from UQ were committed to sharing their data and comparing it to the international reference standard. "From the outset we've been clear that we are racing against the virus and not against other projects, and now more than ever it is important for the scientific world to work together," Jones said.