Rapid vaccine development method to help defend global epidemics

Published: January 16, 2019 12:52:49 | Updated: January 19, 2019 20:45:18

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Scientists from Australia's University of Queensland have created a method they hope will dramatically reduce the time it takes to develop vaccines in the event of a global epidemic.

The university announced on Wednesday that a global collaboration involving the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations aimed to reduce vaccine development time from years or even decades to as little as 26 weeks.

"We aim to be able to manufacture more than 200,000 doses of a new vaccine, demonstrate safety and the likelihood of efficacy, and be ready for field deployment in as little as six months," project co-leader Dr Keith Chappell said.

Chappell's team have developed technology called "molecular clamp," which provides stability to the viral proteins that are the primary target of immune defence systems.

"The technology has been designed as a platform approach to generate vaccines against a range of human and animal viruses," project co-leader Professor Young said.

"We've had some extremely promising results so far from trials targeting viruses such as influenza, Ebola, Nipah and MERS coronavirus."

The effort to fast track vaccine development is supported by a global coalition of scientists including a number of peak international scientific bodies including Hong Kong University, reports Xinhua.

"Molecular clamp technology has the potential to address some of today's most devastating diseases and to fundamentally change how we protect ourselves from common diseases," co-developer of the technology, Dr Daniel Watterson said.

"By rapidly creating vaccines to these new threats, we'll be able to quickly limit the spread of disease and diffuse potentially catastrophic situations."

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