An American biotechnology company, Novavax, is set to commence human trials of COVID-19 vaccine in Australia.
Announcing this Tuesday, the firm said it was hopeful the vaccine could be available to the public by the end of the year.
Novavax Research Chief, Dr Gregory Glenn, who spoke during a virtual press conference in Melbourne from Novavax’ headquarters in Maryland, US, said the firm had commenced the first phase of the trial in which 131 volunteers will be tested, adding that the volunteers will be from the cities of Melbourne and Brisbane and that the test will look for early signs of the vaccine’s effectiveness.
He said: “We are in parallel making doses, making vaccine in anticipation that we’ll be able to show it is working and be able to start deploying it by the end of this year.”
Many experimental vaccines are in early stages of testing or will begin testing across China, US, Europe. Vaccines are being created with different technologies, and work in different ways, which gives a possibility of at least one to succeed.
“Most of the ‘tested’ vaccines aim to train the immunity system so that it recognizes the spike in the protein that studs the coronavirus’ outer surface, instructing the body to react if it ever encountered the real infection. While other companies are making vaccines that are made using just the genetic code for that protein, and others use a harmless virus to deliver the protein-producing information. Still, other vaccine candidates are more old-fashioned, made with the killed whole virus,” he said.
According to her, Novavax has made another addition to the list of ‘types of vaccines’, adding that it has introduced the ‘recombinant vaccine’.
“In these vaccines, Novavax has used genetic engineering to grow harmless copies of the coronavirus spike protein in giant vats of insect cells in a laboratory. Scientists extracted and purified the protein, and packaged it into virus-sized nanoparticles,” he said