The Federal Government of Australia has announced that it has secured an international agreement to produce a vaccine for the coronavirus, in collaboration with Oxford University.
The potentially world-saving agreement was announced by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who revealed that the deal was reached with British pharmaceutical titan AstraZeneca to supply Australians with the vaccine formulated by researchers at Oxford University.
Speaking about the deal, Prime Minister Morrison said that under this agreement, the vaccine – assuming it clears clinical trials – will be locally manufactured in Australia and made free for all Australians.
“The Oxford vaccine is one of the most advanced and promising in the world, and under this deal we have secured early access for every Australian,” he said.
He also said his Government is wary of being over-reliant on only this vaccine and said discussions are ongoing with Australian researchers and other parties around the world.
The vaccine agreement also includes a $24.7 million contract to medical device company Becton Dickinson for the supply of needles and syringes once the vaccine is ready to be made public.
Moreover, the Federal Government said that in addition to securing the supply of the vaccine for every Australian, it would also work to ensure countries in South-East Asia have easy access to it as well.
Scientists at Oxford University claim their experimental vaccine has shown signs of prompting a protective immune response in patients.
The vaccine has entered its third phase of trials, and further testing is expected to run through 2020 into 2021.