Victoria to lead clinical trials of Australia's first mRNA vaccine

Australia's first locally manufactured mRNA vaccine will be clinically trialled in Victoria by the end of the year with 150 participants.

Victoria to lead clinical trials of Australia's first mRNA vaccine

Victoria has developed and will make Australia's first local mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to be ready for clinical trials by the end of the year.

Acting Premier James Merlino today said the government was investing $5 million in support for the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) to manufacture doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for trials, which are due to start in the coming months.

"This is an incredibly important, incredibly exciting step that we are making in our nation," Mr Merlino said.


"This will get us on a pathway to local manufacturing capability."

The investment is the first to be made from the Victorian Government's landmark $50 million fund to develop the state's mRNA manufacturing capability.

Mr Merlino said the ability to make vaccines locally was critical given coronavirus would be around for some time.

"The bottom line is, we can never, ever be in a situation where in the face of a pandemic we do not have local capability in terms of developing vaccines."


Vaccine generic

The Acting Premier also vaccines received from the federal government would not meet demand in Victoria over the coming months.

"The commonwealth vaccine rollout is an absolute shambles," he said.

Around 150 people will be involved in the mRNA clinical trials that are due to begin in October, with preliminary results expected to be available in the first half of 2022.

The mRNA announcement comes as Victoria recorded no new local cases of COVID-19 overnight, continuing its run of low case numbers after the state further eased restrictions last week.


Yesterday, a single new coronavirus cases was detected, a close contact of somebody previously diagnosed already in quarantine.

In the past 24 hours to midnight, just two new cases of the virus were recorded in travellers currently in hotel quarantine.

Despite dwindling cases, 19,502 Victorians came forward to be tested yesterday and more than 897,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date.

The state is currently managing 51 active cases of the virus.

More than 12,200 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered overnight.



Some restrictions still remain

Residents in metropolitan Melbourne are still subject to some COVID-19 restrictions as of 11:59pm, Thursday June 17.

Those living in the area are only allowed up to two adults plus dependants to visit a private home per day.

Face masks continue to be mandatory indoors, except at a resident's own home.


There are no restrictions on travel or the reasons to leave your home, but those travelling to Victoria's Alpine Resorts must have evidence of a negative test within the past 72 hours.

Those who can work or study from home are being asked to continue to do so.

You can find out more details about how to book your vaccine

Source : 9 News More   

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'Great failure': Health expert slams handling of vaccine rollout

Numbers turning up for AstraZeneca have dropped since Thursday's announcement, while vaccines in some centres go to waste amid supply bungles.

'Great failure': Health expert slams handling of vaccine rollout

There has been a "great failure in the procurement and supply" of vaccines in Australia, a leading health expert has told the Weekend Today show.

It comes amid reports of bungles in distribution leading to vaccines going to waste, while other distributors are unable to meet their demand.


Since the announcement that the AstraZeneca vaccine was no longer recommended for Australians under 60s, the rate of those getting the jab has fallen "just at the time when we need the vaccine rate to be going up," Adjunct Professor at UNSW and Strategic Health Consultant, Professor Bill Bowtell, said.

"Unfortunately we're seeing very low vaccination rates. The rate has fallen in the last few days since the change in advice," Professor Bowtell said on Weekend Today.

"We're going into winter with Australians three-point-something totally vaccinated.

"We've got this dangerous Delta variant coming in through the airport that we saw the other day in Sydney. This is very serious."

Hesitancy in getting the jab has increased due to constantly changing health advice, according to Professor Bowtell.

Furthermore, many Australians have expressed their desire to get vaccinated but medical professionals can't keep up with demand.

"We've got a real lack of confidence in what's been said by the various authorities. I think that's increasing vaccine hesitancy," he said.

"The problem is one of supply. Of course, the best thing would be if we could have a vaccination rate that was remotely similar to the vaccination rates now in the UK, the US, Canada, Spain and so on, but we don't."



Professor Bowtell said that some clinics have an oversupply of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to its tarnished reputation.

"There has been a very great failure in the procurement and supply and distribution of these vaccines," he said.

"I was told the other day of an oversupply of AstraZeneca in one of the GP clinics. They were given a big supply coming in, but the expiry date was 30 June. So they can't possibly distribute to those people.

"Let's remember too, AstraZeneca is a good vaccine."

Professor Bowtell said that as the country continues to battle with new strains of the virus, our response should evolve accordingly.

He said that the standard surgical masks - worn widely not only by the public but also by healthcare workers in most settings - may not be sufficiently effective protection from variants such as the Delta strain at the centre of the current Sydney outbreak.

"It is transmitted in aerosol," Professor Bowell said.

"Evidently there were transmissions by people who were just really walking by and sharing the same air and were infected, so that really means upgrading and changing the advice."

He said it was now clear that the N95 masks were needed in medical and high-risk settings.

N95 respirators are designed to fit closely around the face while efficiently filtrating out airborne particles.


Professor Bowtell said the best way to avoid another lockdown is more efficient quarantine program as well as a significant increase in testing numbers.

"I think it's pretty clear from the guidelines if he (patient zero) was using a mask, he was using one that is not very effective against the Delta variant," he said.

"We know that this thing transmits in air and in hotel corridors and in the ventilation systems. Now, that wasn't the case a year ago, we need far better quarantine arrangements like the Howard Springs arrangement.

"The Delta a near and present danger. It is transmitted in aerosol. There were transmissions by people who were just really walking by and sharing the same air and were infected. So that really means upgrading and changing the advice."

Source : 9 News More   

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