An Australian scientist who has developed an alternative ‘synthetic protein’ vaccine against Covid-19 has been forced to go hand-in-cap to try and fund its approval in Australia.
Professor Nikolai Petrovsky has already raised more than $70,000 since listing his vaccine on GoFundMe last week.
The Adelaide vaccine scientist, from Australian biotechnology company Vaxine, claims Covax-19 is the first synthetic protein vaccine against Covid-19 to receive market authorisation, after showing strong protection against the Delta virus variant in a Phase 3 clinical trial in 16,876 subjects in the Middle East.
Professor Nikolai Petrovsky has developed an alternative Covid-19 vaccine that is being blanked out of existence by the Commonwealth Government
A GoFundMe page has already taken in more than $70,000 to help get Covax-19 TGA approval
Australians have expressed a keen interest in alternative Covid-19 vaccines. At present they have access to Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca
Professor Petrovsky has been scathing of the Health Department’s failure to back the product for use in Australia while handing over billions to its competitor CSL to produce the UK-developed AstraZeneca vaccine.
‘Not only have the government failed to support our efforts, but if Australians are to have any chance to access our Covax-19 vaccine then the government requires that we first pay their agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration or TGA, hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to them and regulatory consultants, just to assess our application to get our vaccine locally approved,’ the GoFundMe page states.
CSL spokesman Jimmy Baker denied CSL had received billions from the Commonwealth.
The professor hopes to raise at least $365,000 to go towards the expected half a million dollars or more to make the vaccine available to Australians.
A frustrated Professor Petrovsky claims the Australian Government has refused to help make the vaccine available apart from a small grant he labelled ‘hush money’.
Further, he accused Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt of attempting to wipe its very existence from history.
‘If you go back through the thousands of interviews Greg Hunt has given over the last 18 months of this pandemic, you will not find one mention of our vaccine – the only successful vaccine developed here in Australia and our own government won’t, very well aware of that vaccine, refuses to mention it by name,’ he told The Informer last week.
Professor Nikolai Petrovsky unleashed on the Health Department’s lack of help
Professor Nikolai Petrovsky has developed numerous vaccines. He is outraged his Covid-19 vaccine has not been approved for use in Australia
Professor Petrovsky said no Australian-made vaccine had come anywhere close to mimicking the successful results of Covax-19.
He questioned why the Commonwealth continued to handover millions to CSL and AstraZeneca when the vaccine had been largely avoided by the majority of young Australians.
Daily Mail Australia revealed last week 819,527 AZ jabs went into the arms of young NSW residents between July 13 – when Delta hit Bondi – and October 10.
Covax-19 has been successfully trialled showing strong protection against the Delta virus variant
Professor Nikolai Petrovsky refused to pay millions of dollars to Liberal Party lobby groups to have the vaccine approved for use in Australia
Over the same period, Victorians under the age of 40 took just 309,878 AZ jabs – with many preferring to wait for Pfizer.
‘The Australian population pretty well universally have said we don’t want this vaccine (AZ), the government continued to pay, you know, many millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars to CSL to keep producing that vaccine that no-one wants,’ Professor Petrovsky said.
The respected scientist, who has developed vaccines against influenza, hepatitis b, sting allergy, malaria, japanese encephalitis, rabies and hiv, claimed the choice of vaccines available to Australians was not based on their merit.
‘They were based on other principles that are opaque and dare I say, highly dubious and questionable and need to be looked at by an independent authority that has the power to obviously compel people to answer the question: “if you didn’t fund this on merit, what was going on and did money change hands”,’ he said.
Professor Petrovsky said it would cost just under $300,000 just to have the TGA review the vaccine, which is already approved for use overseas.
‘The TGA is part of the Health Department and so if the government doesn’t want a particular vaccine to be approved in Australia it can just put a hold to that process,’ he said.
Health Department response
Professor Petrovsky’s assertions are absolutely and categorically rejected.
Vaxine Pty Ltd, the company developing Flinders University’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate COVAX-19 was funded $1 million through the Australian Government’s Biomedical Translation Bridge Program, an initiative of the Medical Research Future Fund.
To date the government has invested over $96 million from the Medical Research Future Fund into funding a vaccine and treatments for Covid-19.
The Australian Government has invested in a diverse portfolio of Covid-19 vaccines that use a variety of technical platforms, entering into five separate Advance Purchase Agreements for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, if they prove to be safe and effective.
These include agreements with Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Novavax, Moderna and the international COVAX Facility. Combined, these agreements will ensure Australia has access to more than 280 million vaccine doses throughout 2021, 2022 and 2023.
If a sponsor holds the appropriate evidence they are welcome at any time to make an application to the TGA to register their vaccine in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
However, the government cannot compel a sponsor to make an application, nor can a regulatory approval be granted in the absence of an application.
All Covid-19 vaccine applications are being treated with the greatest priority as part of the Department of Health’s response to the pandemic.
The GoFundMe page has received dozens of messages of support from ordinary Australians desperate for more vaccination choices.
‘I donated because Australian citizens should have access to Australian made vaccines and particularly protein based vaccines,’ one man wrote.
‘I will end up losing everything as I’ve just lost my job and have kids to care for. I pray this comes out very soon. I have much respect for this,’ another wrote.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Commonwealth Health Department for comment.