On 13 July 2020 we announced the University of Queensland’s (UQ) COVID-19 vaccine had started Phase 1 human clinical trials, with the first volunteers receiving a vaccine dose in Brisbane.
This marked an important milestone for UQ’s vaccine and a proud achievement for Queensland with the vaccine developed in our state by Queenslanders and with Queensland volunteers receiving the first dose.
The findings of the vaccine’s pre-clinical testing were released in late August 2020, revealing that the neutralising immune response created by the molecular clamp vaccine in animal models was better than the average level of antibodies found in patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
With Phase 1 clinical trials progressing well, testing has been expanded to include almost 100 volunteers aged 56 years and over to help gauge the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness among an older demographic.
UQ was tasked by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus in January 2020, supported by an initial investment of up to US$4.5 million. Advance Queensland’s contribution of $10 million is fast-tracking the development of this promising vaccine.
The pre-clinical trial work made sure the vaccine is safe to use in humans and confirming the dosage. The Phase 1 human clinical trials will confirm the safe dosage range and identify if there are any side effects.
The vaccine uses ‘molecular clamp’ technology to elicit a rapid response that is more effective than other vaccine technologies and is being developed by world-leading scientists and researchers at UQ, who continue to work around the clock to develop the vaccine. They are the only scientists in the world using this unique and proven technology to tackle the virus – and this puts us ahead of the game.
Innovation isn’t new in Queensland – from Smart State to Advance Queensland we’ve led the way in taking big ideas and turning them into big benefits for our community. It’s positioned us well to now be a world leader in developing a potential vaccine for COVID-19.
We are incredibly proud of this innovation coming from Queensland, giving new hope to millions of people around the world.