Researchers from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) on Thursday announced that they have begun testing vaccines for the novel coronavirus.
The CSIRO said that it has commenced the first stage of testing at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong, 75 km southwest of Melbourne, reports Xinhua news agency.
The trials are expected to take three months and will be conducted on ferrets to determine if either of the two vaccines were safe and effective.
"Beginning vaccine candidate testing at CSIRO is a critical milestone in the fight against COVID-19, made possible by collaboration both within Australia and across the globe," Larry Marshall, the Chief Executive of the CSIRO, said in a statement.
"CSIRO researchers are working around-the-clock to combat this disease which is affecting so many -- whether it's at the AAHL or at our state-of-the-art biologics manufacturing facility -- we will keep working until this viral enemy is defeated," he added.
Even if the vaccines were found to be effective and safe, it could take 12 to 18 months for them to be rolled out around the world.