CSIRO starts testing COVID-19 vaccines

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AUSTRALIA’S national science agency, CSIRO, has started its first stage of testing potential vaccines for the coronavirus. 

The testing, which is expected to take three months, is underway at CSIRO’s high-containment biosecurity facility in Geelong.

Scientists starting to test vaccines for COVID-19 at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory. Credit: CSIRO

CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall says beginning vaccine candidate testing at CSIRO is a critical milestone in the fight against COVID-19, made possible by a collaboration both within Australia and across the globe.

To prepare for disease outbreaks, last year CSIRO partnered with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global group that aims to derail epidemics by speeding up the development of vaccines.

In January, CEPI engaged CSIRO to start working on the virus SARS CoV-2, which causes the disease COVID-19. In consultation with the World Health Organisation, CEPI has identified vaccine candidates from The University of Oxford (UK) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc.

“CSIRO researchers are working around-the-clock to combat this disease which is affecting so many,” Dr Marshall says.

CSIRO is testing the COVID-19 vaccine candidates for efficacy, but also evaluating the best way to give the vaccine for better protection, including an intra-muscular injection and innovative approaches like a nasal spray.

The director of AAHL, Prof Trevor Drew is leading the CSIRO’s COVID-19 virus and vaccine work and says they have been operating at speed, with the critical need for safety, in response to this global public health emergency.”

For more information visit csiro.au/COVID-19

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