Australian multi-year flu vaccine trial launched


Tuesday, 23 May, 2023

Australian multi-year flu vaccine trial launched

Mater researchers in Brisbane are leading a trial of a flu vaccine that has the potential to provide greater and more durable protection against the virus.

Conventional flu vaccines, while effective, need to be regularly modified to address rapid virus mutations. However, the universal flu vaccine OVX836 now being trialled by Mater Research will target those parts of the virus that are less susceptible to mutations — meaning one dose could protect recipients for years at a time.

Dr Paul Griffin, Mater Director of Infectious Diseases, is the Coordinating Principal Investigator.

“It was found that some structures of the influenza virus are more stable and do not change as constantly,” Griffin said.

“OVX836 is designed to target the internal nucleoprotein — a highly conserved antigen — that is more conservative and far less susceptible to mutations.

“Therefore, it may provide broader protection than what we’re currently seeing in existing vaccines.”

The trial will see OVX836 administered with the conventional flu vaccine and then compared with the concurrent administration of OVX836 plus a placebo, and the conventional flu vaccine plus placebo.

So far this year, Australia has had more than 40,000 lab-confirmed cases of influenza and 44 deaths.1

“We’ve had a big start to the annual flu season, and continue to battle vaccine fatigue and complacency,” Griffin said.

“If this trial proves to be successful, it could be a real game changer — the vaccine won’t need to be updated every year, which means we won’t need an annual flu vaccination.

“It could dramatically improve vaccine uptake.”

Megan Martin from Mater Research’s Respiratory, Infectious Disease and Thoracic Oncology (RIO) Unit said more than 600 participants will take part in the study, across up to nine locations in Australia — including 180 at Mater Hospital Brisbane.

“Healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 60 who haven’t yet received this year’s flu vaccine are invited to take part in the trial,” Martin said.

“Participation will last for approximately six months, with participants reimbursed for their time with up to $550 in gift vouchers.”

For more information on the trial, call 07 3163 1369.

[1] AISR fortnightly report No. 3 – 1 May to 14 May 2023 (health.gov.au)

Image credit: iStock.com/brightstars

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