The University of Sydney has announced Phase 1 human trials of Australia’s first DNA-based Covid-19 vaccine.
A grant of $3 million through the Medical Research Future Fund for the trial was announced on Monday. The vaccine was developed by BioNet and Australian company Technovia, and will be delivered by a needle free method called PharmaJet, which penetrates the skin with a jet spray.
The vaccine uses DNA sequences from the virus.
“In the case of COVID-19, the gene codes for the coronavirus spike protein have been selected for the vaccine,” said lead investigator Associate Professor Nicholas Wood from the University of Sydney.
“Once the DNA is inside the cell, the body uses the DNA code to make the coronavirus spike protein and this should then trigger an immune response that we hope will be strong enough to ‘remember’ and protect against further virus infection,”
Preclinical trials on animals have shown the vaccine to be safe and capable of creating an immunogenic response. Phase 1/1b trials will go ahead in NSW, Western Australia and South Australia.
If the trials indicate the vaccine is safe then larger phase 2 trials are planned.
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