With 204,831 cases around the world and 8,272 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic is growing at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, the cure is yet to be found and distributed--that is until Australian scientists have cracked the virus's code and are now testing a vaccine.
Aussie Scientists Found Vaccine for COVID-19
According to The Australian, Dr. Keith Chappell has been working around the clock since January with his colleagues Daniel Watterson, Paul Young, and Trent Munro to speed up the process of finding and creating the cure for COVID-19.
"In terms of getting a vaccine that we think will work, we think we are already there," Chappell said.
To come up with the cure, Chappell decided to hijack the virus's infectious properties with a revolutionary tech known as "molecular clamp," and since then, have been experimenting with different formulations.
After 250 formulations, the scientists settled on a candidate vaccine known as S-Spike, which is currently being tested at the University of Queensland on laboratory mice before human trials would occur sometime in the middle of this year.
A "Commercial Risk"
However, the scientist stressed that there is a "commercial risk" that comes with getting the vaccine available to seven billion people around the world, although that is one risk he and his colleagues "are willing to take."
The costs to manufacture the vaccine on a large scale would be between $20M to $30M.
With the help of Professor Munro, the group is already in talks with regulators and the Therapeutic Goods Administration as well as the European Medical Association for approvals.
Meanwhile, the vaccine is being fine-tuned at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne. However, the progress is on track and should be available by the end of the year.
Chappell believes that running the manufacturing and the clinical trials alongside is the best way to ensure that there are doses ready to go to the public once they have seen success in the labs.
According to the researchers, the vaccine certainly works with MERS--but not on COVID-19, although they are close relatives and the MERS virus is far more fatal than COVID-19, only less infectious.
Researchers Claim More Positive Results
Previously, another group of researchers at the University of Brisbane, still in Australia, also claims they have already found the cure for COVID-19.
Based on a report by The Daily Mail, these drugs are Chloroquine, which is an anti-malarial drug, and a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, which acts as an HIV-suppressor, have shown promising results in human tests.
One of the medications has reportedly been used on the first few patients in Australia who were positive of the novel coronavirus disease.
After administration, the symptoms of the disease have "disappeared" and that the patients have fully recovered.
Now, research director of the University of Queensland Center for Clinical Research, David Paterson, wants to move the clinical testing to a larger scale, where they are currently looking at 50 hospitals across Australia.
Remdesivir, an experimental drug, has also been given a second glance by researchers after anecdotal evidence of curing COVID-19 patients in China as well as in the US.