Human trial of coronavirus vaccine begins in Australia

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Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Monday said he was "cautiously optimistic" that by the end of the year there would be at least one vaccine for the coronavirus.
The trial will see people injected with two doses of the vaccine every four weeks. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (XINHUA) - Human trials have begun for a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by Australia's University of Queensland (UQ), officials announced on Monday (July 13).

Around 120 volunteers aged between 18 and 55 will receive the first dose of the vaccine and they are required to follow the same social distancing advice as the broader population.

According to local media, the trial will see people injected with two doses of the vaccine every four weeks.

The volunteers will be monitored while the safety and immune response of the vaccine will be analysed over a 12-month period.

The milestone follows months of pre-clinical testing by UQ, since the vaccine candidate was selected as the university's most promising in mid-February.

According to UQ vaccine project co-leader Paul Young, the vaccine has been shown to induce antibodies that are able to neutralise the virus and preliminary studies have shown it to be safe for people.

Results for the first trial are expected in about three months as scientists plan to progress to the next stage of trials as soon as possible.

"That will be a larger trial with people from a range of ages, to ensure the vaccine works across the board," Professor Young explained.

UQ is among a number of institutions partnered with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi), as well as Australian biomedical giant CSL, which has committed to manufacture the vaccine should testing proves successful.

"If things go to plan, CSL will rapidly advance production of tens of millions of doses and move the program into later stage clinical testing, regulatory approval, large-scale manufacture and distribution," project director Trent Munro said.

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