CSIRO welcomes the Australian Government’s letter of intent with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, to give Australians access to the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, should it prove successful, safe and effective.

CSIRO also welcomes the news that the Australian Government is working with CSL and AstraZeneca to assess whether it is possible to provide local manufacturing support for the vaccine, should it prove successful.

As Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO is playing a critical role in the global efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. In March this year, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) engaged CSIRO to undertake a preclinical trial of Oxford’s vaccine candidate at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP). ACDP is CSIRO’s high-containment biosecurity facility, the only lab of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

CSIRO has shared early data from the preclinical trial with CEPI and Oxford University, which enabled the vaccine candidate to progress on to phase 3 clinical (human) trials.

While preliminary reports have shown Oxford’s vaccine candidate generates an immune response, there’s still a long way to go before a viable vaccine is widely accessible. The results of the phase 3 clinical trials will show if the vaccine candidate is efficacious and safe for the broader population.

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