$725,000 shot in the arm for COVID-19 vaccine

Glencore is pleased to announce a $725,000 donation to the University of Queensland's (UQ) COVID-19 Vaccine research team to fast-track an effective COVID-19 vaccine.

Glencore is proud to be supporting the UQ Research Team in their $23.5 million rapid accelerated program, which could see the COVID-19 vaccine potentially available by January 2021.

UQ's 'Molecular Clamp' project has been identified as a world-leading candidate to develop a vaccine and its research team has been tasked by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) with developing a vaccine.

The molecular clamp technology ensures the vaccine induces an immune response that recognises and then neutralises the virus.

The project moved from pre-clinical testing to human trials in July. Vaccine production can start almost immediately if the trials are successful.

In July, it was announced that a Phase 1 clinical trial involving 120 healthy adult volunteers had begun with the first dose of the UQ COVID-19 vaccine being given at the Brisbane clinic of clinical trials specialist, Nucleus Network.

Professor Paul Young, who is co-lead of the vaccine project says philanthropy has played a critical role in UQ's efforts to fast-track an effective vaccine and help save lives across the world.

"With the support of Glencore, government partners and a community of almost 2,600 donors, we have been able to combine clinical readiness with scale-up manufacturing, reducing the timeframe to a vaccine by up to six-months," Professor Young says.

Maryann Wipaki, General Manager for Health, Safety, Environment and Community for Glencore's Queensland Metals, says Glencore is delighted to be in a position to support the University's research team on a project of such significance.

"We're excited to contribute to an accelerated approach to vaccine development which, subject to successful human clinical trials, could see a COVID-19 vaccine available in early 2021," says Maryann.

"A COVID-19 vaccine offers a long-term solution. Until now, the strategies put in place by governments have been slowing the spread of infections and reducing the burden on health systems while waiting for a vaccine to be developed."

"The University of Queensland's research is moving at great speed and while there is a way to go before the vaccine can be considered a success, we are seeing some encouraging results. We hope our funding can make a meaningful contribution to these efforts and will be cheering the team on in the weeks and months ahead."

The funding comes from Glencore's $25 million Community Support Fund set up earlier this year to assist communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This fund has also enabled us to purchase a GeneXpert testing kit for the Mount Isa Hospital for locally-based COVID-19 testing with faster test results," Maryann says.

"Through these donations we're creating safer communities, and making a difference to the lives of people who live and work in our communities."

Globally Glencore is working closely with governments, health agencies, and other key responders to identify their needs to provide the most effective response possible.