Kiwi company ‘cautiously optimistic’ on developing Covid-19 vaccine

A New Zealand company says it’s early days, but it’s cautiously optimistic about its chances of developing a Covid-19 vaccine.

Dr. Rhonda Flores labels protein samples at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States, on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for Covid-19.

File photo. Photo: AFP

A group of local investors and a Canadian-based, New Zealand academic, have contributed half a million dollars to carry out a clinical trial, with more to come as the vaccine progresses

It will cost about $8 million to get a vaccine to market.

Jeff Douglas, the managing director of Douglas Pharmaceuticals, will chair the company Covid-19 Vaccine Corporation Limited.

He said it was full steam ahead.

“We’re going to start now, pulling together the experts all around the country,” he said. “Also I think that they’re using an institute in Poland as well to assist, so this is going to culminate in quite a unique sort of a strategy for vaccine, but one that will develope here in New Zealand – and let’s hope it’s successful.

“I’m not a scientist, but the experts are cautiously optimistic and I support them all the way.”

Douglas said if the company found a successful vaccine it would provide more security for the New Zealand population.

“Hopefully there will be other vaccines developed successfully around the world, but they will obviously feed their populations first and there’s a rate limiting pressure on developing these things.

“It might be some time before New Zealand gets supplied, so if we can develop and manufacture one here, it’s a little more security for our population.”

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