• Sat. Oct 22nd, 2022

The Morrison government has announced $10.1m for six new COVID-19 clinical trials amid calls for greater clarity around ‘no jab, no pay’.

Jan 3, 2021

The new funding for clinical trials will come from the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund and includes funds to accelerate human trials for two mRNA vaccine candidates being developed by the University of Melbourne.
This is the delivery technology for the first widely available vaccine from Pfizer, which is being rolled out in the US, UK and Canada. Australia has purchased 10 million doses of the jab, enough to vaccinate five million people.
Next generation jabs
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the two “next generation” mRNA vaccine candidates showed several advantages over current options, in particular the ability for them to be shipped without the need for ultra-cold transport.
“We don’t know whether or not further vaccinations will be required after this year. But we do know we will prepare for every eventuality,” Mr Hunt said. “We’ll know more as the world goes through its vaccine program.
“It’s about preparing for the next year … and always being ahead of the curve.”
The first batch of volunteers for the trials would be recruited by mid-2021, while the first vaccinations are scheduled to begin in March and could come as early as February, with the roll-out currently ahead of schedule.
Other projects to receive funding include testing for the use of germicidal ultraviolet light to reduce infection rates in aged care facilities, and 3D-printed face masks to match facial shape and prevent leaks.
Mask leakage from existing P2/N95 respirators is a major problem for health care workers due to the variability in the shape of the human face.
Focus on recovery
Another two trials will focus on recovery following a COVID-19 infection, one being led by the University of NSW with a focus on the neurological impact of the virus, and the other research being led by Melbourne University on a cardiovascular recovery program.
“Each of these extremely promising Australian innovations has the potential to dramatically shift the global battle against COVID-19, which will begin clinical trials from early 2021,” Mr Hunt said.
“Australian researchers are making such strong contributions to global efforts to reduce the toll of COVID-19 that a number of other clinical trials have been identified as strong candidates for possible future funding.”