Further Investment In Three New Australian COVID-19 Vaccine Research Projects

Date posted 22 September 2020

Release date 20 September 2020

The Morrison Government will invest almost $6 million in additional funding from the Medical Research Future Fund’s (MRFF) Coronavirus Research Response to support research and development of three Australian COVID-19 vaccines.

The rapid development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a critical Australian Government priority.

Under the competitive, peer reviewed COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Research Grant Opportunity, funding will be allocated for the further development of three COVID-19 vaccines.

The University of Melbourne will receive almost $3 million to develop two vaccine candidates. Both vaccines are targeting the tip of the spike protein, known as the receptor binding domain, but use different vaccine techniques to compare which vaccine maximises the production of neutralising antibodies.

  • protein vaccine – this vaccine introduces a protein into the body to maximise the antibody immune response to neutralise viral infectivity
  • mRNA vaccine – this vaccine represents a genetic sequence that supports the human body to make the protein which would then maximise the antibody response to the tip of the spike protein to neutralise viral infectivity

The University of Sydney, will receive almost $3 million for a Phase 1/1b clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of a novel DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is being developed so it can be administered using a needle-free system. The trial is a partnership with four of Australia’s most experienced vaccine trial sites and aims to enrol 150 healthy volunteers. Findings from the trial will inform evaluation of the vaccine in larger Phase two and three trials.

Subject to further work, the resulting vaccines could eventually be deployed in Australia and around the world.

These investments build on existing MRFF support for COVID-19 vaccines, including $5 million provided to the University of Queensland for their innovative ‘molecular clamp’ technology and $1 million to Vaxine for their COVAX-19® vaccine.

Our Government continues to invest in medical research to supercharge the development of promising vaccines to save lives and protect lives.

The Government has invested more than $2 billion in COVID-19 research and development.

This includes $1.7 billion to secure early access to over 84.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and $362 million for diagnostics, vaccine development, antiviral development, clinical trials, digital health research infrastructure and research into the human immune response to COVID-19 infection.

Research plays a critical role in ensuring Australia maintains its world-class health system and is particularly important as the world responds to COVID-19.


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