The University of Queensland COVID-19 vaccine trials show the jab looks to be safe, is producing virus-neutralising antibodies and is proving to be especially effective in the elderly, according to the latest data.

Health Minister Greg Hunt will share the news as he inspects the UQ vaccine laboratory today, where it's understood its trials are ahead of schedule.

It follows news that the elderly, children and pregnant women could miss out on the first injections of the separate Pfizer vaccine, which initial trials show is 90 per cent effective, until research into its potential side-effects, if any.

 

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Health Minister Greg Hunt will receive an update regarding the UQ vaccine candidate on Friday. Picture: Sean Davey
Health Minister Greg Hunt will receive an update regarding the UQ vaccine candidate on Friday. Picture: Sean Davey

The National Cabinet will also meet today to discuss the national rollout of vaccines next year, as well as reopening the borders by Christmas, potential for international travel and the Royal Commission into Natural Disasters.

Mr Hunt said the latest data from the Queensland research was showing positive results, with more details to be released once its been analysed further with a more quantified amount.

"Their initial lead is that the vaccine through the phase 1 trials is proving to be safe and just as importantly it's showing a positive response, which means it has got neutralising antibodies.

"Especially in the elderly. The elderly cohort is responding well," he said.

Even as the Pfizer vaccine leaps into the lead in the global race for a vaccine against the deadly disease, Mr Hunt said the UQ dose was a "critical part" of Australia's strategy.

"It was one of the first two (vaccines) we acquired. We have 51 million units, enough for the entire Australian population with a two-shot booster," he said.

"It's fundamental to our distribution here, but also our ability to support countries in the region, which is critical to our safety and our regional interests."

Associate Professor Keith Chappell, inventor of UQ’s Molecular Clamp technology used to develop the uni's COVID vaccine. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Associate Professor Keith Chappell, inventor of UQ’s Molecular Clamp technology used to develop the uni's COVID vaccine. Photographer: Liam Kidston

While The Morrison Government has purchased 10 million units of the Pfizer vaccine, it will be manufactured overseas while the UQ jab will be produced in Australia by CSL should it succeed in its trials.

The Federal Government has contributed $5 million towards research for the UQ "molecular clamp" vaccine candidate.

Mr Hunt also said state borders being open would help with the delivery of any vaccine rollout, by easing the capacity for interstate movement of goods.

Australia has purchased access to four vaccine candidates including Pfizer, UQ, AstraZeneca and Novavax.

Originally published as UQ vaccine safe, effective and OK for elderly - early data



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