One of Australia’s top scientists believes the work being carried out at the University of Queensland has the best chance of finding a vaccine to COVID-19.
One of Australia’s top scientists believes the work being carried out at the University of Queensland has the best chance of finding a vaccine to COVID-19.

Scientist says this university's vaccine is our best hope

THE professor behind one of Australia's biggest scientific successes has backed the coronavirus vaccine being developed in Queensland as the one most likely to come off, saying it stands out among the slew of contenders.

While there are 80 COVID-19 vaccines under development around the world, renowned scientist Professor Ian Frazer says the work being done at the University of Queensland used the best technique and had the best chance of success.

Professor Frazer developed the lifesaving human papilloma virus HPV vaccine which prevents cervical cancer and in 2008 earned him the Prime Minister's Prize for Science.

Professor Ian Frazer says UQ’s work on a vaccine is promising. Picture: Annette Dew
Professor Ian Frazer says UQ’s work on a vaccine is promising. Picture: Annette Dew

In an interview with the Australian Academy of Sciencepublishedonline last night the esteemed Queensland scientist said the UQ vaccine "would be one that would have a high chance of success if any vaccine is going to work".

"We're very fortunate that we have great vaccine technologies available now that were simply not available 20/30 years ago," he said.

"And within Australia there are several vaccine programs under development including one at the University of Queensland, based on what I would regard as one of the best possible techniques for making such a vaccine because it's a protein based vaccine using what I would regard as fairly standard and routine technologies for developing a vaccine.

"So I would guess that would be one that would have a high chance of success if any vaccine is going to work".

Professor Frazer said of the more than 80 known vaccines currently under development worldwide, at least one of them was expected to deliver some level of protection from the disease.

"Whether any of them will end up giving us lifelong protection against the infection is another matter because that depends on the nature of the immune response and control will prevent infection," he said.

He said the University of Queensland vaccine had demonstrated that it could neutralise the virus in animals and "that's probably the most important first step towards getting a vaccine to humans".

"It still doesn't show up with a process of a minimum of a year if we're going to demonstrate safety, efficacy and then scale up for production so you can start immunising", he said.

The vaccine developed to save millions of lives is being fast-tracked with a $17 million cash injection.

UQ scientist Professor Trent Munro told The Courier-Mail last month the team had set itself the "incredibly ambitious" goal of large-scale production by the September quarter.

He said the university's candidate vaccine, dubbed S-clamp, was on track to start human testing by July.

Originally published as Scientist says QLD vaccine is our best hope


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