Queensland Puts Forward Plans to Manufacture COVID-19 Vaccines Locally

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Photo Credit: Translational Research Institute/Google Maps

Translational Research Institute at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Woolloongabba has received a $20-million grant to develop mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 amidst the rising number of cases of Delta variant transmissions but the initiative will still need approval from the Commonwealth.



Under the Industry Partnership Program, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the grant will ramp up the country’s “capacity to develop our biomedical industry and manufacture vaccines,” as well as open 500 jobs within 10 years. 

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said that the fund will enable Queensland to produce vaccines for Australia. 

“I want Queensland to lead the country in vaccine research, development, and manufacturing, and I’ve been talking to leading biomedical experts about how to do this,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said. “TMI@TRI was one of their strong recommendations.” 


Highlights

  • Translational Research Institute at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Wollonggaba received a $20 million grant from the State.
  • The funding will allow Queensland to produce mRNA COVID-19 vaccines locally.
  • The production will still need approval from the Federal Government.

The State Government has been in preliminary discussions with various Queensland-based biopharmaceutical facilities, as well as leading international manufacturers, to produce the vaccines locally once the Federal Government agrees to the proposal. 

The pitch was laid out with Federal Industry, Science and Technology Minister Christian Porter. Mr Miles said that Queensland has the technology and the skills to become a “major player in the manufacture of vaccines internationally.” 


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Photo Credit: Translational Research Institute/Google Maps

The Federal Government is looking into bids for locally manufacturing CSL, BioChina, Luina Bio, LDT and 10 more brands. One of its requirements is for the facility to be ready within a year. TRI CEO Professor Scott Bell believes that, given the funding, the manufacturing facility could be ready in 18 months.

Australia is already producing AstraZeneca mRNA COVID-19 vaccines as there are facilities on-shore that have the capacity to make this particular viral-vector-based vaccine. AstraZeneca is also willing to outsource vaccine production.

However, the country needs more Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for the under 50s as AstraZeneca is only administered to older patients. Only three countries have the rights to manufacture Pfizer vaccine: U.S., Germany, and Belgium.



Moderna, another mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, is another possibility if issues with local licence are ironed out and secured.  

Meanwhile, Princess Alexandra Hospital conducts regular vaccinations for the under 60 years old every Friday and Saturday between 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Check the Queensland Health website for other vaccination locations.