Human trials for a coronavirus vaccine begin in Adelaide
Human trials on a coronavirus vaccine have begun in South Australia in a first for the southern hemisphere.
Phase one trials are underway from today at the Royal Adelaide Hospital on 40 healthy people aged between 18 and 65.
Adelaide company Vaxine Pty Ltd is behind COVAX-19, which is aiming to become the world's first COVID-19 vaccine.
The first stage will provide initial safety and immune response data on the potential vaccine.
The participants with receive two doses three weeks apart of either COVAX-19 or a placebo.
Blood tests will then be taken to measure protective antibody and T-cell responses induced by the vaccine.
Coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 500,000 people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
More than 10.1 million people have been infected by the disease around the world.
"Although international bodies resisted our early calls to call it a pandemic and downplayed the imminent threat, Vaxine immediately went into overdrive to develop a vaccine against the impending COVID-19 pandemic," Chairman and Research Director of Vaxine Professor Nikolai Petrovsky said.
"Vaxine might be a small company but over the last 18 years we have learned to be extremely resourceful in our battles against some of the world's biggest threats including SARS, swine flu, bird flu and Ebola - designing pandemic vaccines that were effective in animal studies, as well as having some enter human clinical trials.
"We consequently saw it as a public health imperative to use our pandemic vaccine expertise rapidly develop a vaccine solution to COVID-19."
Other human trials are in the works globally with around 120 vaccine programs underway.
In the US, a South Dakota company said it would to start human trials this month for a COVID-19 antibody treatment derived from the plasma of cows.
Scientists have genetically engineered the animals to give them an immune system that's part human.
That way, the animals produce disease-fighting human antibodies to COVID-19 which are then turned into a drug to attack the virus.
Recently New York scientists at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced it had started human trials with a drug derived from mice.
In the UK, 300 people are taking part in a coronavirus virus human trial at Imperial College London.
Early tests in animals have suggested the vaccine is safe and triggers an effective immune response.
Experts at Oxford University have already started human trials.