Geelong ferrets may have saved us from COVID-19


Australia's national science agency says human trial results for the University of Oxford coronavirus vaccine, which was tested on ferrets in Geelong, are "very encouraging".

CSIRO Health and Biosecurity Director Dr Rob Grenfell said the agency was pleased to have been able to play a role in the validation of this vaccine through preclinical testing at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness in Geelong earlier this year.

Geelong ferrets were involved in COVID-19 vaccine testing.
Geelong ferrets were involved in COVID-19 vaccine testing.

"As part of CSIRO's preclinical trial of Oxford-AstraZeneca's candidate, our scientists evaluated the efficacy of one versus two doses as well as administration of the vaccine via a nasal delivery and/or an intramuscular injection," Dr Grenfell said.

Dr Grenfell said it wasvery encouraging to see that in the higher efficacy dose regimen, a combination of a half dose followed by a full dose resulted in 90 per cent efficacy against the disease.

"At a time where demand for vaccines far outstrips supply, using one and a half doses rather than two means Australia's supply of the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate will go much further," he said.


"The interim data shows the vaccine reduced asymptomatic infections, and there were no severe cases or hospitalisations among those who received the vaccine.

"It's also important to see that the vaccine demonstrated a strong immune response in older people, a key high-risk group in this pandemic."

Dr Grenfell saidwhile it's important to remember these are provisional results that haven't been peer reviewed, they bring us another step closer to defeating the novel coronavirus and seeing a safe and efficacious vaccine delivered.


Originally published as Geelong ferrets may have saved us from COVID-19