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Future of the COVID-19 vaccine

Prof Paul Young a virologist and scientist at UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, presented during the second QCGC webinar on hopes and expectations for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Prof Young explained a vaccine could be available by the beginning of 2021 which would be an extraordinary achievement, given vaccine development normally takes between 5-10 years to develop. Prof Young and his team, among with other universities and overseas organisations are using a rapid response vaccination pipeline, which could produce a vaccine within an unprecedented 12-18 months.

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The testing is currently being conducted in animal models to ensure that the vaccine developed is safe. Clinical trials in 100 human volunteers are planned to begin in the middle of this year.

Those who will be a priority for the vaccine are health care workers and first line responders, those with comorbidities and the elderly.

Prof Young explained it’s not possible to eradicate the virus with social distancing alone, and this measure will only control and reduce the spread. Only with a vaccination, will there be the potential for eradication of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 virus was described by Prof Young as a relatively stable virus, and this means once a vaccine is developed, it has the potential to remain effective for years.

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