All the results to date show the candidate is safe and “likely to provide protection” against both the viral infection and the symptoms of coronavirus, according to UQ School of Chemistry researcher Keith Chappell.
During the trial, doses of the vaccine were given to hamsters which were then exposed to COVID-19 to test whether the drug triggered the immune system to protect against the virus.
“Following a single dose, we see a really good level of protection against virus in the lung,” Chappell said.
“Around half of the animals had no virus at all detected in the lungs and the other half had reduced levels. We saw a marked reduction in the severity of the disease in the hamsters.”
Chappell said the protection seen after a single dose of the vaccine was “better than we expected”.
“[It] looks like two doses do a great job of protecting both against virus replication and the disease,” he said.
Although these tests were carried out on hamsters, the vaccine candidate is also currently in phase one human trials.
Chappell said in the human trials there have been “absolutely no safety concerns with all the participants dosed so far”.
There are more than 150 COVID-19 vaccines being developed around the world currently. Other candidates are already in the third phase of trials, including the one being developed by Oxford University.