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Drug firms are racing to develop effective treatments for coronavirus amid a surge in cases that has infected 53,090,778, killed 1,299,400 people and battered the world's ecoomy

Developed by an Australian university and CSL Ltd, an early testing of a potential coronavirus vaccine has shown it to be safe and produce an antibody response, Minister for Health Greg Hunt told news agency Reuters on Friday.

Drug firms are racing to develop effective treatments for the infection amid a surge in coronavirus cases that has infected 53,090,778, killed 1,299,400 people and battered the world's economy.

Several candidates including ones produced by Pfizer and AstraZeneca are expected to imminently announce the results from final stage testing.

Covid-19 vaccine update

Earlier this week, Pfizer said that its experimental coronavirus vaccine had been more than 90% effective based on initial trial results.

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE have said no serious safety concerns were found so far and expect to seek US emergency use authorisation this month, raising the chance of a regulatory decision as soon as December.While slightly behind other candidates, the vaccine candidate developed by the University of Queensland and CSL will now begin the last stage of testing, Hunt said.

"The vaccine is proving to be safe through phase I clinical trials and that it is proving to produce a positive antibody response," Hunt told reporters in Queensland.

"It is doing its job. That is particularly so in the elderly, and that is an especially important outcome, given the global vulnerability to elderly around the world from COVID-19."

Should it pass those trials, Hunt said it could be ready for distribution by the third quarter of 2021.

Australia has already agreed to buy 51 million does of the University of Queensland developed candidate. Australia will also buy the AstraZeneca vaccine too should it pass last stage testing.

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