Melbourne lab to start producing Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine


Global biotech company CSL will begin manufacturing millions of vials of one of the most promising coronavirus vaccines in Melbourne, in the hope trials will prove it is effective and can be rapidly distributed.

CSL chief scientific officer Andrew Nash said one-millilitre vials of the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be thawed on Monday, having been frozen in liquid nitrogen to preserve their integrity.

Staff at CSL's Broadmeadows lab with the bioreactor, which will begin making the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from Monday.

Staff at CSL’s Broadmeadows lab with the bioreactor, which will begin making the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from Monday.Credit:Getty Images

The thawed vaccine, which came from a cell bank, will be added to a bioreactor – a large vessel where biological reactions take place – where it will go through a fermentation process, grow and multiply. This facility at Broadmeadows is the only one of its kind in Australia, Dr Nash said.

The vaccine will spend six days multiplying in the bioreactor, then be filtered and purified, leaving just the antigen – or vaccine product – ready to be put into dosage vials. There will be eight or nine processes like this, each producing 3 million to 4 million doses.



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