Australian scientists to test mRNA vaccine against COVID-19

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SYDNEY, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – June 22, 2021): Australian scientists plan to conduct clinical trials for a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in the coming months, as part of a project to ensure the nation can eventually producing their own version of a Pfizer or Moderna Vaccine.

Victoria Acting Prime Minister James Merlino announced this week that the government is allocating AU $ 5 million (approximately US $ 3.76 million) to help Melbourne’s Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences manufacture vaccine doses for testing.

“This is an incredibly important and incredibly exciting step that we are doing in our country,” Merlino said of the project, because so far Australia has only been able to produce the AstraZeneca version of the vaccine, which is currently administered to people over the age of 60.

Health experts believe public concerns over AstraZeneca, due to its links to cases of blood clots, is one of the reasons for the relatively slow rollout of the vaccine in the country.

MRNA vaccines use a genetic code (RNA) to induce the production of the coronavirus-specific spike protein, and once a patient receives the vaccine, the body’s immune cells develop a response against the disease.

Colin Pouton of Monash University, who is leading the research, said the advantages of mRNA technology were that it was easier to design and adapt than protein vaccines.

Pouton said that if trade deals were negotiated with Pfizer or Moderna, there was a possibility Australia could start manufacturing these vaccines at CSL, a Melbourne-based biotechnology company.

Victoria isn’t the only state in the effort to do so, with New South Wales (NSW) keen to start production as well.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in May that the state was “well positioned to provide advanced training for the manufacturing workforce, scientific expertise and the physical location of a future center. RNA-based manufacturing process “. its May budget that it would provide funding for setting up mRNA manufacturing, but did not disclose how much for reasons of business confidentiality.

Meanwhile, researchers in Melbourne expect around 150 participants to participate in Phase 1 mRNA trials which are expected to start around October and the results of which will be published in the first half of 2022.

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