Australia’s potential coronavirus vaccine has shown promise during early testing, the country’s health minister Greg Hunt said on Friday.
Developed by the University of Queensland and CSL Ltd, the vaccine candidate has shown an antibody response, Hunt said, as the race for developing an effective vaccine for COVID-19 gathers steam across the world.
"The vaccine is proving to be safe through phase I clinical trials and that it is proving to produce a positive antibody response," said Hunt.
"It is doing its job. That is particularly so in the elderly, and that is an especially important outcome, given the global vulnerability to elderly around the world from COVID-19."
While the UQ and CSL vaccine is running behind some other vaccine candidates in terms of trials, it is set to start its last phase ahead of schedule. If it passes all trials, it could be ready for distribution by the third quarter of next year, Hunt added.
Earlier this week, German company BioNTech and US firm Pfizer said their jointly-produced vaccine was 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. The announcement came as a breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over a million lives across the world. That vaccine is still being tested.
Another leading candidate is the viral vector vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Results from these trials are expected soon.