We are working with vaccine developers to produce small volumes of candidate vaccines to the highest quality standards, for use in trials. If successful, our manufacturing process can be scaled with an industry partner.

Professor George Lovrecz and Mylinh La at CSIRO's manufacturing facility for a pilot coronavirus vaccine in Clayton, Melbourne. Credit: Scott McNaughton  ©Scott McNaughton. Courtesy The Age

Scientists at our state-of-the-art biologics production facility in Melbourne have begun to produce and scale-up The University of Queensland’s (UQ) vaccine candidate for COVID-19, which is a specially designed protein.

This facility is part of the National Biologics Facility, with nodes also located at UQ and University of Technology Sydney and funded under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy scheme, administered by Therapeutic Innovation Australia.

Working with bioengineered mammalian cells, our fermentation biology team produces and scales-up vaccines – from the laboratory to pilot-scale – in line with best practice manufacturing standards.

Our scientists have initially focused on a medium-scale (20 litres) production of COVID-19 vaccine candidate for toxicology studies and testing by UQ.

In order to fast track development of a vaccine for COVID-19, our team is concurrently scaling up the vaccine candidate to 50 litres for potential use in potential clinical trials. We are also using specialist methods to purify the vaccine candidate co-developed with UQ, to ensure the highest levels of safety.

Fifty litres may equate to about 20,000 vaccine doses, which will be more than enough for phase-I clinical trials and the associated testing.

Our team will then produce the vaccine candidate within our specialist facilities using equipment and processes that are similar to what would be used for future large-scale production for industry.

UQ's COVID-19 vaccine development is being undertaken with support from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and has also received funding from the Federal and Queensland governments. We are pleased to support UQ with our scale-up and manufacture of its antigens. 

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