Scientists begin testing possible vaccines on ferrets

By BBC On Thu, 2 Apr, 2020 08:36 | < 1 min read
vaccine tests
Prof Trevor Drew, director of the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, is leading the vaccine trials. PHOTO | CSIRO

Great news from Australia, where the national science agency has this week started testing not just one, but two potential vaccines. It’s an incredible development given this process normally takes two years, but has been achieved in just a few months.

The vaccines have come from Oxford University and US company Inovio Pharmaceuticals. They’ll be tested on ferrets, a species which gets the Sars-CoV-2 virus the same way humans do.

Australia’s CSIRO will be testing to see if 1) any of the vaccines work and 2) if they’d be safe for human testing. Read more on how it will work here.

Last month in the US, a human trial of a potential vaccine did go ahead but it skipped the animal testing phase.

The Australian scientists I spoke to this morning said they could expect their first results in June, but there would likely be stumbling blocks before even moving to clinical trials.

However, they said they were “optimistic” about the work, and particularly heartened by the level of collaboration among the world’s scientists right now.

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