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Leading Australian COVID-19 vaccine takes promising step forward

Australia’s most promising COVID-19 vaccine has proved successful in easing symptoms of the virus in animals, in an important milestone for the jab.

The University of Queensland vaccine candidate has been shown to effectively prevent COVID-19 in hamsters.

Director of Infectious Diseases at Mater Health Services, Associate Professor Paul Griffin, says it’s a promising sign.

“That’s a really good sign this vaccine is likely to provide protection,” he told Ross and Russel.

“We like to use animals with immune systems that are sufficiently similar so that we can extrapolate into people and the immune system of hamsters lends itself to these sorts of studies.”

Phase Two human trials of the vaccine have already begun, with 120 volunteers receiving the jab.

Professor Griffin says it’s too early to comment on the result of that trial, but it’s Phase Three data that researchers “really need” to prove the jab is effective.

He said he’s optimistic there will be at least one vaccine for COVID-19 by mid-2021.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that this vaccine will be both safe and effective,” he said.

“I’m very confident we’ll have a few vaccines that will be at least moderately effective by early to mid-next year.”

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