On Monday (13/7/2020) a total of 120 volunteers in Brisbane received the first dose of immunization that has the potential to prevent the Covid-19 disease.
This potential vaccine was developed by the University of Queensland (UQ).
This is one of many clinical trials underway in Australia, including other trials involving researchers and volunteers in Queensland.
In testing the potential of this vaccine, each person will be injected with two doses every four weeks. The health and immune response of the volunteers will then be examined.
Healthy adult volunteers have received the first dose of the vaccine at the Brisbane specialist clinic, Nucleus Network, as the first phase of this trial.
Helen Sullivan was one of them and she claimed to have volunteered because she wanted to help restore the world back to normal.
“To get people back to work, to see their families, this vaccine is quite important” Helen said.
“I feel comfortable enough to do this, (I) am not nervous at all… I feel quite confident that we have done our job and we are in safe hands.”
Another volunteer Christian Fercher, said he wanted to help the community affected by the virus.
“Seeing so many people who don’t have jobs and are affected financially and also personally… I want to help us get out of this situation as soon as possible” Christian said.
He said the potential of this vaccine, if successful, would also help him to be able to visit relatives living abroad as soon as possible.
“I cannot visit my family in Austria… I don’t think international flights will exist until we have the vaccine, so this is my personal motivation to get involved in this trial” he said.
The researchers will measure the reactions that arise from the volunteers involved, as well as monitor them for 12 months.
Preliminary results from this trial are expected to be announced at the end of September.
Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Monday was “an exciting day” for Queensland.
“This is a very big step, not only for UQ, but for Queensland” she said. “This trial, conducted by UQ and its scientists, is second to none.”
The Queensland State Government has invested AUD $10 million in this research, so that it can be developed quickly.
Professor Paul Young, one of the lead researchers at the University of Queensland, said it was difficult to determine exactly when the vaccine would be completed, but they planned to complete it within 12 months.
“The plan is for us to complete it by the middle of next year.”
Dr Young said the human trials were in accordance with the pre-clinical testing the researchers had conducted since February.
“Previous trials have shown that in the laboratory, this vaccine has effectively neutralized the virus and is safe to inject into humans.”
Dr Young also said that partnerships with manufacturing companies meant that the vaccine could be available earlier.
“If everything goes according to plan, they will immediately advance the production of millions of doses and shift the program to further stages of technical trials, regulatory approvals, and large-scale manufacturing and distribution steps” said Dr Young.
“We will hold our breath together while waiting for this trial process to take place.”