The Australian government has reached a deal to gain access to the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine as early as January if it is deemed safe and effective.
Australians are said to receive 3.8 million doses of the drug developed by British company AstraZeneca in the first two months of next year.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil deals worth $ 1.7 billion with AstraZeneca and the pharmaceutical company behind a University of Queensland vaccine on Monday to make 84.4 million doses if the drugs are approved.
UQ researchers are in the early stages of controlled groups in testing their vaccine – known as phase one – while scientists at the University of Oxford are in the more advanced phase three involving 30 000 people.
A chemist is pictured at AstraZeneca headquarters in Sydney on August 19. Australians are expected to have early access to 3.8 million doses of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine as early as January 2021 if it is deemed safe.
Early access doses would be given first to Australians most vulnerable to the disease, and then to frontline health workers.
Meanwhile, the tens of millions of additional doses would be produced mostly in Melbourne and made available to the rest of the population “gradually” throughout 2021.
“Australians will have free access to a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 if the tests are successful,” Morrison said.
“By securing production and supply agreements, Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a safe and effective vaccine, if it passes advanced stage testing.
“There is no guarantee that these vaccines will be effective, but the deal puts Australia at the top of the list if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light. “
The deal released by the federal government on Sunday said 33.8 million doses would be for the Oxford vaccine and 51 million would be the UQ version.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison at AstraZeneca headquarters in Sydney in August. He said Australia would be the “first in the world” to have access to a “safe and effective” vaccine if it was deemed safe.
At the end of last month, volunteers aged 56 and older were invited to participate in the next phase of human trials of UQ’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The tests would assess whether the vaccine is safe for the elderly, said virologist and co-leader of the project, Professor Paul Young.
“As most people now know, COVID-19 appears to have a higher degree of disease severity in older people,” he said.
“By conducting this expanded safety study, we will be able to gather key data to support large-scale efficacy trials.
The UQ is recruiting 48 volunteers aged 56 to 65 and 48 other volunteers aged 66 and over.
The team aimed to start the new trials within three weeks, with volunteers scheduled to make nine visits for two doses and “regular bleeding.”
Global advances in vaccine development come as the Melbournites have been told they will remain under coronavirus lockdown until at least October 26. Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews laid out a four-step plan for the state to return to normal if the number of cases continues to decline.
From September 14, the nighttime curfew will begin an hour later at 9 p.m. and last until 5 a.m.
Pictured: The University of Oxford’s vaccine development. The Australian government also announced an agreement to manufacture 33.8 million doses of the Oxford vaccine nationwide
People living alone can designate a friend or family member who can visit them and two hours of daily exercise will be allowed, including “social interactions” such as picnicking at a local park or reading a book in the park. the beach.
Further restrictions could be relaxed from September 28, and the government will consider lifting the curfew entirely from October 26, depending on the number of cases.
“We cannot miss a lockdown. We need to take stable and secure steps out of lockdown to find COVID normal, ”Andrews said on Sunday.
Under Mr Andrews’ roadmap to get out of the lockdown, residents will have to wait until November 23 for all retail stores to reopen.
QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY’S PIONEERING “MOLECULAR CLAMP” TECHNOLOGY FIGHTS COVID-19
The university received a request from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to use its patented new DNA-based molecular clamp technology to speed up the vaccine after the virus hit Australian shores in January.
A team of 20 researchers has spent the past 15 months preparing for a “rapid response”.
The technology uses the coronavirus DNA sequence released by China to produce a protein identical to that on the surface of the real virus.
This protein will be the essence of the vaccine, capable of generating immune system responses that protect people.
The vaccine was developed using molecular clamp technology that locks the ‘tip’ protein into a shape