The agreement between Australian biotechnology company CSL and the Australian Government for 51 million doses is based on people needing two shots of the vaccine.
"There are no guarantees that these vaccines will prove successful, however the agreement puts Australia at the top of the queue, if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light".
"We want to make 100 million doses available by the end of the year", said billionaire Hopp, one of the founders of software company SAP. The UQ and CSL candidate is scheduled to begin phase two trials in late 2020 and if all trials are successful it could be rolled out to Australians in mid-2021. It announced Ad26.COV2.S successfully prevented subsequent infection and provided complete or near-complete protection in the lungs from the virus in non-human primates (NHPs) in a pre-clinical study. "All the results so far indicate good safety, tolerability and effectiveness", he said of the CureVac mRNA vaccine candidate.
University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said, "We are proud of the contributions that UQ researchers have been making in response to the COVID19 pandemic".
The AstraZeneca vaccine is now the most progressed candidate in the world, with late-stage phase three trials in Britain, Brazil, the United States and South Africa generating strong immune responses in humans with no significant concerns.
Hopp said that there is a possibility that the vaccine will be approved this year "on the basis of interim data, for example for certain, particularly vulnerable occupational groups or regions". CSL will manufacture the vaccine from its Australian facilities and schedule production around the UQ-CSL V451 manufacture, as well as manufacture of the company's vital core therapies.
Australia had announced in August that it planned to buy AZD1222, along with an agreement of intent from CSL to manufacture it.
"We can't win this race", Hopp told the Handelsblatt business daily.
Successful manufacture and supply of AZD1222 under contract to AstraZeneca is subject to Australian regulatory approval.
The vaccine drew neutralizing antibodies that researchers have said the hamsters needed to develop immunity to the virus.
The deal leverages the manufacturing capability of experienced Australian pharmaceutical manufacturer CSL/Seqirus and will ensure that the vaccines will be manufactured onshore, to the highest quality standards at the earliest possible time.