By Juliano Oliveira
The first stage of testing possible vaccines for COVID-19 has started and should take three months, has announced CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency).
“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, Dr Larry Marshall said.
Recently, the agency increased the number of potential vaccine candidates at its biologics production facility in Melbourne. In partnership with the CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), CSIRO started working on the virus SARS CoV-2, causer of COVID-19.
In consultation with the World Health Organisation, CEPI has identified vaccine candidates from The University of Oxford (UK) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (US) to undergo the first pre-clinical trials at CSIRO, with further candidates likely to follow.
The trials will be split up in two different approaches in which candidates efficacy and the best way to give the vaccine for better protection – intra-muscular injection or nasal spray – will be evaluated.
Professor Trevor Drew OBE, director of AAHL (Australian Animal Health Laboratory) and leading CSIRO’s COVID-19 virus and vaccine work, remembered that, since January, the agency has been studying SARS CoV-2.
“We are carefully balancing operating at speed with the critical need for safety in response to this global public health emergency.”
Dr Marshall said: “Tackling disease and supporting better health outcomes takes a one-health approach.”