Industry deal has United Kingdom being first to have Oxford COVID-19 vaccine

Industry deal has United Kingdom being first to have Oxford COVID-19 vaccine

A University of Oxford team is now testing a vaccine candidate in humans, while another group from Imperial College London are expected to start human trials next month.

CSL told News Corp its vaccine subsidiary Seqiris was already working with the University of Queensland and could produce its world leading COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

The federal government is working on a plan to make Australia a vaccine hub that could also export medicines to the world.

If researchers are able to prove the efficacy of the drug, then the country require to manufacture the vaccine quickly and at scale.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the additional funding would support teams at Oxford University and Imperial College London engaged in the global race to find a vaccine that could finally end the devastating pandemic.

"This means that if the vaccine is successful, AstraZeneca will work to make 30 million doses available by September for the United Kingdom as part of an agreement for over 100 million doses in total".

Several coronavirus vaccine candidates are in various phases of testing after having performed well in lab trials.

"It's inevitable that the vaccine will come out more slowly than we like".

If the vaccine is safe and effective on humans, as many as 30 million doses might be ready by September in Britain, of the initial 100 million capacity that AstraZeneca has promised.

Jane Halton, chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said the country that develops the vaccine will likely treat its own residents first, leaving a scarcity of the drug for other countries.

If a vaccine is identified, production should be "globally distributed" to guard against "vaccine nationalism", she said.

Biotech company Moderna announced Monday that the first coronavirus vaccine tested in people can "stimulate an immune response against the virus", The New York Times reported.

"The speed at which Oxford University has designed and organised these complex trials is genuinely unprecedented".

The government has initially earmarked £14 million to plough into 21 coronavirus research projects - such as the work by the scientists at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, was not so sure, suggesting last week that "a mass vaccine or treatment may be more than a year away". There are now just 7060 active Australian COVID-19 cases, while the death toll stands at 99.

Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, said in a statement: "We now have a partner in AstraZeneca who are ideally positioned to help us evaluate the vaccine, manufacture it and distribute it to United Kingdom citizens as well as to the rest of the world".

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