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How Aussie university can ‘fast-track’ coronavirus vaccine

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The University of Queensland has reached out to alumni and the public for donations to “fast-track” the development for a coronavirus vaccine.

The University of Queensland has reached out to alumni and the public for donations to "fast-track" the development for a coronavirus vaccine.

Past and present students of the Brisbane-based university received an email on Wednesday titled: 'You can help fast-track a potential vaccine for COVID-19'.

"This week UQ received extraordinary support from both government and philanthropic partners to advance the development of UQ's COVID-19 vaccine – a project which has the potential to change lives around the world," the email from Pro-Vice-Chancellor Jennifer Karlson read.

"With the help of the UQ community, our researchers can accelerate their response to the global pandemic with a goal to deliver clinical trials to Queensland patients as early as July.

"To achieve this we need to raise $6.5 million. 

"We are calling on the UQ community to support COVID-19 research with a donation of any amount."

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Queensland currently has 493 patients that have positive for coronavirus, and this week the state government decided to close its borders with other states in an effort to contain the spread of the disease.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Karlson said that if researchers are able to move fast with adequate funding, they claim it "can reduce the timeline for an effective vaccine by six months – a project which would otherwise take at least 12-18 months."

As part of the campaign, the university is also encouraging people to support researchers by using the hashtag '#clapCOVID19researchers' on social media.

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The University of Queensland has garnered an excellent reputation for its medical research. Professor Ian Frazer famously co-invented the HPV vaccine at the institution, which prevents cervical cancer.

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The vaccine earned the university worldwide attention and got Professor Frazer named 2006 Australian of the Year, the winner of the Prime Ministers Prize for Science, and in 2012 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2012.

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How is coronavirus transmitted?

The human coronavirus is only spread from someone infected with COVID-19 to another. This occurs through close contact with an infected person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands or surfaces.

What are the symptoms of someone infected with coronavirus?

Coronavirus patients may experience flu like symptoms such as a fever, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.

What is the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?

The symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are very similar, as they both can cause fever and respiratory issues.

Both infections are also transmitted the same way, via coughing or sneezing, or by contact with hands, surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus.

The speed of transmission and the severity of the infection are the key differences between COVID-19 and the flu.

The time from infection to the appearance of symptoms is typically shorter with the flu. However, there are higher proportions of severe and critical COVID-19 infections.

How can I protect myself and my family?

The World Health Organisation and NSW Health both recommend basic hygiene practices as the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus.

Good hygiene includes:

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What is social distancing?

Social distancing involved minimising contact with people and maintaining a distance of over one metre between you and others.

When practicing social distancing, you should avoid public transport, limit non-essential travel, work from home and skip large gatherings.

It is okay to go outdoors. However, when you do leave home, avoid touching your face and frequently wash your hands.

If I'm young and healthy, do I still have to practice social distancing?

Yes. While older people are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, young people are not immune. People that show mild or no symptoms may still pass the virus to others, particularly in the early stages of the infection, before many patients realise that they are sick.

Source: 9News

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