4000 people sign up for WA COVID-19 vaccine trial, doses begin

4000 people sign up for WA COVID-19 vaccine trial, doses begin

The trial is one of just 15 worldwide that have gone beyond the pre-clinical stage.

More than 4,000 people have registered for a Phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine trial in Perth, where Linear Clinical Research has already dosed 10 participants with expectations a further 140 will take part in the coming months.

The clinical trial involves the COVID-19 S-Trimer vaccine developed by Chinese company Clover Biopharmaceutical, along with collaboration from the UK's GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), US-based Dynavax and China's Xiamen Innovax.

Funding for the trial is coming from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is involved in trials including with the CSIRO, the University of Queensland (UQ) and CSL (ASX: CSL).

Linear chief executive officer Jayden Rogers said the start of the human trial is an important milestone in the global effort to find a vaccine for COVID-19, and a major coup for Western Australia.

"It usually takes years to get to this stage, but vaccine experts have been working hard around the world to fast-track this promising vaccine candidate," says Rogers.

"We were overwhelmed by the support we received from the WA public to trial this vaccine.

"The participants are doing really well and we are collecting valuable data which will inform this study and many more around the world."

He says this is one of the most prominent trials globally, and now that WA is in the unique position of having successfully suppressed COVID-19, focus can turn to prevention.

"I applaud the thousands of people who registered to take part in this trial - it further demonstrates how members of our community are willing to play their part in helping fight COVID-19," he says.

One of the trial participants is Perth doctor Chris Rynn, who volunteered because he wanted to help in the quest to find a successful vaccine.

"I understand the implications COVID-19 has for the medical profession, so I felt this is an important way I can help in speeding up the process of finding a vaccine," says Dr Ryan.

"I encouraged my friends to also register for the COVID-19 vaccine trial.

"I have participated in clinical trials at Linear before and am proud to contribute towards medical research."

The COVID-19 vaccine trial is randomised and double-blind, with some participants receiving the vaccine candidate and others receiving a placebo. Participants receive two injections in the arm 21 days apart and are monitored for an hour in the ward and then from their homes.

Preliminary safety and immunogenicity results are expected starting from August. If successful, it is expected the "COVID-19 S-Trimer" vaccine will be given to thousands of people around the world (as part of the global phase 2b/3 study) by the end of this year.

Rogers says Clover was one of the first companies to develop a protein-based vaccine based on the coronavirus Spike (S) protein that the virus needs to enter host cells.

Clover's Timer-Tag technology platform - which has been safely used in vaccine development for developing influenza, RSV and HIV vaccines - mimics the Spike protein with the aim of producing an immune response specific to the coronavirus

"We remain focused on developing a safe, effective and accessible COVID-19 vaccine at a scale that can potentially impact the course of the pandemic globally," says Clover Biopharmaceuticals chief executive officer Joshua Liang, who co-invented the S-Trimer vaccine.

According to the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society there are currently 38 COVID-19 vaccine trials underway worldwide. The Perth trial is one of six that are Phase 1, while a further nine are more advanced than that.

Updated at 9:42am AEST on 7 July 2020.

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