Canberra: On Monday, Australia started the local development of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford, with about 30 million doses planned to be produced.
In spite of still going through clinical trials, the vaccine, which was co-developed by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, is viewed as one of the more promising vaccines in the world, as reported Xinhua news agency.
Australia biotech firm CSL has agreements with AstraZeneca and the government to start pre-emptive production of the vaccine, for release during the initial half of 2021 should remaining tests prove to be successful.
CSL’s Chief Scientific Officer Andrew Nash stated, “We are undertaking these manufacturing activities at-risk and in parallel with the clinical trials and approvals processes in recognition of the significant urgency of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
It is believed that the vaccine will require a two-dose per individual regime meaning it might be effectively administered to 15 million individuals.
In any case, it won’t be released for use until the development cycle is audited and approved by Australia’s government regulatory authority, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Production will occur at CSL’s bioreactor facility in the State of Victoria, with the production process starting by thawing vials containing vaccine cells that had been frozen under liquid nitrogen.
The company said in a statement, “After growing in the bioreactors, the vaccine is then filtered and purified leaving just the antigen, or vaccine product. It is then ready for final formulation and filling into dosage vials.”
CSL had already developed many doses of another COVID-19 vaccine candidate created by Australia’s University of Queensland (UQ), which it is holding in readiness to advance to Phase 2b/3 clinical trials.
Additional trials on the UQ vaccine candidate are due pending the release and audit of Phase 1 clinical trial information.
The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that it will take CSL around 50 days to totally process the vaccine. As indicated by the paper, the company has separate agreements with AstraZeneca and the Australian government for the creation of the vaccine.