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Clinical trial approved in Australia for needle-free COVID-19 vaccine

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 15:35, April 14, 2021

SYDNEY, April 14 (Xinhua) -- The testing of a potentially needle-free COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in Australia.

The vaccine, COVIGEN, is a joint venture between the University of Sydney, a biotechnology company Technovalia, and an alliance of clinical trial centres called Vax4COVID.

The DNA-based vaccine will be tested in about 150 participants aged between 18 and 75 at sites in the states of New South Wales (NSW), South Australia and Western Australia. Selection of participants is expected to begin this month. The trial period has not been finalised.

The Phase 1 trial's lead investigator, Associate Professor Nicholas Wood from the University of Sydney, said the goal was to assess the safety of using different doses of COVIGEN.

Wood described the trial as a "significant milestone for all involved in this one-of-a-kind partnership between Australian institutions, the industry and the Australian government via the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF)."

The project has received a 3 million Australian dollar grant (about 2.29 million U.S. dollars) from the MRFF.

Meanwhile, the state of Queensland is due to rollback its COVID-19 restrictions from Thursday.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Twitter on Wednesday that the restrictions imposed two weeks ago would ease.

Queenslanders have had to wear masks in indoor venues, and there have been restrictions on hospital and aged-care visits, as well as limits for pubs, clubs and cafes.

Palaszczuk said the state had again recorded no new community transmitted cases which allowed the easing of restrictions.

The state, however, recorded the death of an elderly COVID-19 patient on Tuesday.

The man at the age of 80, had been travelling in the Philippines and returned home on March 20. He tested positive on March 25 while in hotel quarantine and was admitted to hospital.

Queensland on Wednesday also recorded two cases of coronavirus from returned travellers in hotel quarantine, who acquired the virus in Papua New Guinea.

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