[ad_1]

BENGALURU: In just three weeks since they began working on it as part of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) rapid response programme, a University of Queensland team has met a key milestone in its fast-tracked research to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The team has created its first vaccine candidate in the laboratory and following final verification will move immediately into critical pre-clinical testing.
“The proof-of-concept milestone comes after the project’s announcement on January 24 as part of CEPI and the team has shown considerable progress in line with the highly accelerated timeframe of the rapid response programme, and the long hours in the lab have paid off with this achievement,” UQ vice-chancellor and president, Professor Peter Høj said in a statement.
Stating that there is still extensive testing to ensure that the vaccine candidate is safe and creates an effective immune response, he said: “…But the technology and the dedication of these researchers means the first hurdle has been passed.”
The work in the lab shows the feasibility of using UQ’s ‘molecular clamp’ technology to engineer a vaccine candidate that could be more readily recognised by the immune system, triggering a protective immune response.
The next stage is to produce this on a larger scale needed for additional testing, to determine its effectiveness against the virus.
Researchers said the early research had gone ‘as expected’ and the material created had the properties which allowed the team to proceed with vaccine development. The group continues to work to a much-accelerated timetable to keep on track for investigational clinical testing after the middle of the year.
UQ is one of only three programmes globally – and the only one in Australia – initiated by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), leveraging ‘rapid response’ platforms in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
In an earlier statement shared with TOI, Høj had said that the fluidity of the current outbreak represented a significant challenge to the international community. “There is a lot that is still unknown regarding how easily the virus is able to be transmitted between humans. Working with CEPI, The University of Queensland is using its vaccine technology to respond to this global health challenge.”
According to the Head of University’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, Professor Paul Young, the university had novel technology for the rapid generation of new vaccines from the knowledge of a virus’s genetic sequence information.
“The team hopes to develop a vaccine over the next six months, which may be used to help contain this outbreak. The vaccine would be distributed to first responders, helping to contain the virus from spreading around the world,” Young had said.

[ad_2]

Source link