A coronavirus vaccine could be ready in Australia far sooner than expected, the country’s top doctor has revealed.
Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said he was optimistic an inoculation would be produced in the coming months amid promising clinical trials.
‘I don’t have a crystal ball on that one, but certainly these types of developments usually take years,’ he said on Tuesday.
‘It’s not going to be years.
‘I think we won’t be talking about that a year or two from now – it will be earlier than that.’
Small scale trials are underway across the world, with two research teams in Australia already at stage three of development, which involves testing on humans.
The trials are being led by scientists in Adelaide and at the University of Queensland.
But it’s the Oxford vaccine under development in the United Kingdom which is among Professor Kelly’s ‘top six’ when it comes to the global race.
While the normal development time frame such vaccines could be four years, the growing global death toll has prompted authorities to fast-track measures.
But potential delays could result in an ‘involved’ process to manufacture and distribute the millions of doses required in Australia.
‘None of them are ready to be rolled out in large numbers to protect us, there is certainly more science to be done in terms of making sure they are safe and they are effective,’ Prof Kelly said.
‘But the early trials are very hopeful.’
Professor Kelly dismissed concerns around putting people’s safety at risk by fast-tracking human trials.
‘We have our regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration and they’re very linked into other similar regulators around the world. Their role is to exactly guard against that,’ he said.
‘These things are going very fast and we want them to go fast, this is the way we will be able to return to some sort of normality in the world and here in Australia.
‘We are very optimistic about vaccine development.’