The manufacture of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Australia will reach the final stages next week.
Melbourne-based biotechnology company CSL says this means the first doses will likely be released at the end of March, subject to regulatory approval.
Local manufacture of the vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, has been underway since late last year at CSL’s manufacturing facility in Broadmeadows, Victoria.
Early next week, the final manufacturing phase will begin at CSL’s other facility in Parkville.
“The vaccine is formulated to a precise concentration, before being repeatedly filtered and filled into vials ahead of labelling and packing,” CSL said in a statement on Friday.
Each batch will undergo quality checks by CSL, AstraZeneca and the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Production is expected to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week ahead of the expected release of two million doses at the end of March, followed by one million doses a week thereafter.
“While the work isn’t over, we are incredibly proud to be on the cusp of delivering a locally made vaccine for Australians,” CSL Chief Scientific Officer Dr Andrew Nash said in a statement.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is currently being considered by the TGA for use in Australia.