The federal government has secured a promising vaccine being developed at Oxford University after brokering a deal with a UK-based drug company.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed every Australian would gain “early access” to the drug for free should trials prove successful.
“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,” Mr Morrison said.
“However, there is no guarantee that this, or any other, vaccine will be successful, which is why we are continuing our discussions with many parties around the world while backing our own researchers at the same time to find a vaccine.”
The agreement with pharma-giant AstraZeneca would see the vaccine likely manufactured in Australia by Melbourne-based biotech business CSL.
A separate $24.5 million contract was also signed for 100 million needles and syringes while distribution, timing and purchase price for the drug itself are yet to be disclosed.
In Australia, the University of Queensland was in phase one in the development of its most promising vaccine as the government worked on building a portfolio of vaccine investment should the Oxford trials fail.
The government also canvassed the possibility of distributing vaccines to other Pacific Island nations as a gesture of goodwill.
Up to 167 possible vaccines are under development globally.