Queensland scientists have announced a major breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19, revealing that early tests of a potential vaccine have shown promising results against the deadly virus.
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The vaccine, being trialled by researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ), has shown I pre-clinical tests that it can raise high levels of antibodies that are instrumental in neutralising the virus. The university’s project co-leader professor Paul Young confirmed that the results were an excellent indication that the vaccine worked as they expected.
“This is what we were hoping for, and it’s a great relief for the team given the tremendous faith placed in our technology by CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation), federal and Queensland governments and our philanthropic partners,” Professor Young said in a statement on Wednesday.
"We were particularly pleased that the strength of the antibody response was even better than those observed in samples from COVID-19 recovered patients."
Scientists are hoping to begin trialling the vaccine on humans after the final results from the pre-clinical tests arrive in early June, which will confirm that the vaccine “induces the immune response we’re expecting.”
Researchers at UQ have adopted rapid response technology to assist in developing a vaccine, which took three weeks to produce. Professor Kanta Subbarao of the Doherty Institute, which is working with the university, was responsible for testing the vaccine samples in the laboratory.
“This is a very important finding because similar immune responses with SARS vaccines in animal models were shown to lead to protection from infection.”
The news follows an announcement by several states and territories that certain social distancing restrictions would begin to ease after a consistent and steady drop in new COVID-19 cases.
For more information on the development, you can watch professor Young’s press conference in full, here.