The test consists of injecting two possible vaccines into ferrets, which are being carried out in their biosafety facilities

DNA40 –

Australia’s national science agency reported Thursday that the first phase of testing for possible COVID-19 vaccines has begun.

Preclinical tests by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), which consists of injecting two possible vaccines into ferrets, are being carried out at its high containment biosecurity facilities near Melbourne.

The tests in the first phase would last about three months, CSIRO Health Director Rob Grenfell told ., adding that the resulting vaccine would not be available to the population until well into next year.

Grenfell said scientists were working at a “remarkable” pace, reaching the preclinical testing stage in about eight weeks, a process that typically takes up to two years.

He added that human testing of one of the two vaccine candidates being tested is expected to start later this month or early next month.

CSIRO said the tests would cover both efficacy and evaluation of the best way to administer the vaccine for better protection, including an intramuscular injection and a nasal spray. CSIRO was the first research organization outside of China to successfully develop a laboratory version of the virus to enable preclinical studies on COVID-19.

In February, it confirmed that ferrets reacted to the virus by sharing with humans a particular receptor in their respiratory cells to which the virus binds.

According to publicly released information, US company Moderna Inc is the closest entity to human testing, after announcing plans to start a test in Seattle last month.

The United States Government has closed agreements with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, and is in talks with at least two other companies, to produce massive quantities of vaccines.

Israel has begun testing a prototype COVID-19 vaccine in rodents in its biochemical defense laboratory, a consulted source told . on Tuesday.

(With information from .)