In Australia, there is a vaccine against the new coronavirus that has been shown to be safe and to generate an immune response in human organisms, in tests carried out in phase 1 of tests.
Covax-19 is being developed by scientists from Adelaide, in a collaboration between the University of Flinders and the research firm Vaxine biotechnology.
“We confirm that the Covax-19 vaccine can induce appropriate antibody responses in humans,” Nikolai Petrovsky, a researcher at that university and founder of Vaxine, told the newspaper “Sunrise”.
“We now have preliminary safety data showing that there were no significant systemic side effects on any of the volunteers” and “we are allowed to immunize individuals who have had Covid-19 to see if we can further increase their immunity and prevent them from being infected again “, he said.
Tests on the elderly
Petrovsky’s goal is now to test the vaccine in the elderly, in another clinical trial. To this end, it offered vaccines to the state of Vitória (Victoria) and encouraged family members of users of nursing homes and homes to enroll them in the tests.
“There is no reason why they cannot enroll them and give them the vaccine that, hopefully, would protect them,” he said.
“We are certainly very open to talking to the Victorian government about this,” he added, considering that “it would bring benefits, only in the context of a clinical trial.”
“We know it won’t hurt, because now we know that the vaccine is completely safe”, he reinforced.
The victory state has been one of the most affected by the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus and the authorities estimate that
The authorities estimate that in the next few days, 600 new cases may arise.
Vaccine in a few months?
In the first phase of human testing, 40 volunteers participated, who received a dosage of Covax-19. No significant side effects or fever situations have been reported – which, according to the newspaper “The Australian”, contrasts with the results of phase 1 of the two other vaccines that have already advanced to phase 3 tests: that of the University of Oxford and that of the American modern biotechnology company.
For phase 2 of the tests, which will take place in September, Australian scientists estimate to involve between 400 and 500 volunteers and, for phase 3, the goal is to reach 5,000.
To this end, Vaxine is in talks with other countries, especially those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At this time, there are more than 150 vaccines under development worldwide, one of them also in Australia (Queensland), 21 of which have already been tested on humans.
If the tests continue to have good results, Nikolai Petrovsky believes that Covax-19 can be made available within “three or four months”.
How does the Australian vaccine work?
Both vaccines being developed in Australia work via protein subunits, with small synthesized pieces of the SARS-CoV-2 peak protein being injected into the body to induce an immune response.
These protein spikes surround the virus’s surface, forming part of the crown that gives the virus its name.
In infection with the new coronavirus, the spikes in SARS-CoV-2 (called S1 proteins) bind to a molecule called ACE2, a receptor in the body’s cells, allowing the virus to invade and replicate extensively. It is this immense ability to bind SARS-CoV-2 to ACE2 that makes it highly infectious.
Thus, to produce Covax-19, the researchers inserted into a cell a genetic sequence of the protein distinct from the peak of the new coronavirus. The cell then begins to grow this protein and scientists will purify it, turning it into a vaccine.