Innovation Minister Kate Jones has today put out the call for volunteers to take part in human trials on a Queensland-developed COVID-19 vaccine next month.
It comes as global pharmaceuticals giant CSL Ltd today announced it had signed an agreement with major funding backer the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the University of Queensland to manufacture Queensland’s vaccine immediately.
Ms Jones said Queensland’s vaccine was now only one of five worldwide to have a manufacturing deal with CEPI.
That means our vaccine is one of the most promising in the world,” Ms Jones said.
“This has the potential to save thousands of lives not only in Queensland but across the globe.
“We invested more than $10 million back in March to fast-track the development of the UQ vaccine by six months.
“Today is a major milestone – we can now start phase one clinical trials.
“Today we’re putting out the call for up to 100 volunteers to take part in human clinical trials in July.”
Ms Jones said today’s announcement could provide a huge boost to Queensland’s pharmaceuticals industry.
“Regardless whether this vaccine is successful, today’s announcement proves that we have some of the world’s best medical researchers,” Ms Jones.
“We also have the capacity to conduct clinical trials on life-saving new vaccines.
“This will help us tap into a multi-trillion-dollar industry and create more jobs for Queenslanders in the future.
“CSL will manufacture the vaccine for phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, involving larger groups of volunteers, and if all goes well, they will also manufacture the final vaccine for Australian and global demand.”
University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said today was a great step forward for researchers.
“We are absolutely delighted at the speed with which we have been able to reach this critical juncture, and off the back of positive results from our early preclinical studies,” he said
“This accelerated timeframe, hitting the key milestones in the development of the UQ vaccine, would not have been possible without CEPI, our partners and additional funding assistance from the Queensland State Government ($10m), the Federal Government ($5m) and philanthropic partners.
“Having CSL, an Australian-based global biotech leader, take our vaccine forward is a fantastic result for the dedicated research team who have worked tirelessly since January on this project, which will benefit Australians and the world.”