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Australia looks to vaccine-making capacity

Australian manufacturers are being urged to tell the federal government if they could help reproduce a coronavirus vaccine.

Submissions will be used to determine the national capacity to make and distribute the drug if an effective candidate is found.

Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the government was aware of Australia’s existing ability to produce vaccines.

“This request for information is about identifying more niche manufacturers, including those who may be able to pivot or have the capability but would need support to scale up their operations,” she said on Tuesday.

“Australian scientists are at the heart of the global quest for a vaccine and we want to make sure Australian manufacturers can be central to the production once that vaccine is found.”

Ms Andrews said the information would boost manufacturing capability to respond to other possible pandemics down the track.

Manufactures have until next Thursday to respond to the government.

The vaccine race has more than 150 candidates being developed and tested around the world with 25 in human clinical trials.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly is increasingly hopeful a vaccine will be found through the global search.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged any nation that finds the substance to make it available globally.

“Any country that were to find this vaccine and not make it available around the world, without restraint, I think would be judged terribly by history,” he said.

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