Australian researchers claim they may have found the ‘secret ingredient’ for an effective malaria vaccine which may be the breakthrough needed to find a solution to COVID-19.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease which travels to the liver first before entering the bloodstream, it can lead to multi-organ failure or death.
The research from the Peter Doherty Institute at the University of Melbourne, published in peer-reviewed journal Cell & Host Microbe on Tuesday, found a way to prevent malaria from progressing from the liver.
‘Our vaccine amplifies an army of killer cells, which then can eliminate malaria-infected cells. So it’s a very different approach. And it’s extremely effective,’ co-author Associate Professor Irina Caminschi told ABC.
‘We’ve identified a protein that clearly is seen by the immune system. And we can use that protein to educate the immune system that this is a malaria protein, and it is a problem – you need to destroy it.’
Australian researchers claim they may have found the ‘secret ingredient’ for an effective malaria vaccine which may be the breakthrough needed to find a solution to COVID-19
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease which travels to the liver first before entering the bloodstream, it can lead to multi-organ failure or death
Researchers used mice, which are difficult to protect against malaria. to develop the vaccine. They were able to protect the mice for up to 200 days.
Co-author Dr Daniel Fernandez-Ruiz said they should be able to protect humans against the illness with the vaccine soon.
He said their research strategy could be adapted to help find a vaccine for the coronavirus.
‘With a few tricks, we can actually create protective immunity in the lung. So we can use the strategy to create killer cells that are ready and waiting for something like a COVID-19 virus to infect the lung and eliminate it before it actually takes hold,’ he said.
A global hunt is on for much-needed protection against the deadly coronavirus that has triggered an economic shutdown and forced people indoors as countries try to stem the spread.
Dozens of potential vaccines are being designed in labs around the world, expected to begin this testing process over the next several months.
Scientists working on preliminary tests of coronavirus vaccine candidates at the CSIRO lab in Geelong. Human trials will be done by Oxford University, UK, and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, US
Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is fast-tracking the testing of two candidate vaccines, one from the US and one from the UK.
The CSIRO was the first research organisation outside of China to generate sufficient stocks of the virus to enable research.
Thanks to rapid work is CSIRO now at the stage of pre-clinical trials – a position that typically takes up to two years to reach.
To reach a vaccine within 15 months would be record time as vaccine development is typically a long and complex process that can take up to 15 years.
Scientists at work at the CSIRO biosecurity lab in Geelong. The pre-clinical trials will establish whether the candidate vaccines are safe before they move to human trials
Pictured: the CSIRO’s high-containment bio-research facility in Geelong, Victoria. Preclinical testing is expected to take about three months
In ordinary times, a vaccine must pass through the pre-clinical stage, animal testing, then two phases of human trials to study the safety, immunogenicity, proposed doses and method of delivery.
If the vaccine passes these hurdles it moves to larger Phase III trials typically involving tens of thousands of people to catch any rare side-effects. Only then is it submitted for approval.
Because of the extraordinary urgency of the coronavirus pandemic, the CSIRO is fast-tracking vaccine testing as much as possible.
The federal government research agency is now conducting the pre-clinical vaccine trials to test the safety of the vaccine candidates on ferrets before they move on to human trials.
The CSIRO is fast-tracking testing to get a working coronavirus vaccine. Pictured: Scientists testing coronavirus vaccine candidates at the CSIRO lab in Geelong, Victoria, on April 2
CSIRO is in preclinical trials: a position that typically takes up to two years to get to, thanks to rapid work on the virus. The CSIRO was the first lab outside China to grow stocks for research
The human trials will then be done by Oxford University for the UK vaccine candidate and Inovio Pharmaceuticals for the US candidate, to determine whether the vaccine works.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,972
New South Wales: 3,059
Western Australia: 553
South Australia: 439
Australian Capital Territory: 107
Northern Territory: 29
TOTAL CASES: 6,972
Normally it takes up to two years to get to this stage of testing, a CSIRO spokesman said in a video media briefing.
‘Testing is expected to take about three months,’ a CSIRO spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia on Monday.
‘CSIRO is testing the COVID-19 vaccine candidates for efficacy, but also evaluating the best way to give the vaccine for better protection, including an intra-muscular injection and innovative approaches like a nasal spray.
‘CSIRO is carefully balancing operating at speed with the critical need for safety in response to this global public health emergency.’
Scientists at the University of Queensland are also looking for a third vaccine with the ‘incredibly ambitious’ goal of having a working prototype by September.