On May 26, Australia's first human trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine begun in Melbourne, with 130 healthy patients between the ages of 18 and 59 involved in the program. Nucleus Network, a clinical research organisation, has been tasked with the early stages of testing before the trial expands to Brisbane in a weeks time.
Here's what we know...
The vaccine (NVX-CoV2373) was originally developed by US biotech company Novavax and is designed to stimulate the body's immune response to the virus, enabling people to develop antibodies to fight COVID-19. It is currently being trialled in a number of countries, but Australia marks the first in the southern hemisphere.
"As the first human trial in the southern hemisphere, and one of only a handful of COVID-19 human trials worldwide, I am delighted Victoria is again at the forefront in leadership and excellence in medical research," Victoria's Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research, Frank McGuire, said in a statement.
Infectious diseases expert Dr Paul Griffin told the Today show, "We look for antibodies and the type and number of antibodies, then we take some things out of the subjects through those blood tests and do a lot of laboratory experiments to show that it neutralises the virus and protects against the virus."
July is reportedly when the first results of the trial will be ready after time has been given to make sure those that tested have developed the required amount of antibodies to be considered immune to the virus. Further testing will then take place to make sure the vaccine does not have any adverse side effects, and that it's safe to give to the wider community.
"I think there is a lot of variables still to be determined. But we're working harder than ever to progress as quickly as possible and it's possible there will be a significant number of doses available perhaps even by the end of the year," said Dr Griffin.