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'Variant-proof' vaccine next on agenda as grant boosts research

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Sydney University is leading an international consortium hoping to develop a ‘variant-proof’ Covid-19 vaccine.

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The consortium has a $US19.3 million ($A27.7 million) grant from The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to develop a vaccine to provide broad protection against all known SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, as well as future variants.

CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett says repeated waves of COVID-19 infection around the world mean we will be living with the virus for many years.

“The threat of a new variant emerging that might evade the protection of our current vaccines is real, so investing in research and development for variant-proof SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is a global health security imperative,” he said on Wednesday.

The CEPI partnership with Bharat Biotech, University of Sydney and ExcellGene would advance the development of a vaccine to protect against future variants of COVID-19, potentially contributing to the long-term control of the virus, he said.

Professor Robyn Ward, executive dean and pro vice-chancellor medicine and health at The University of Sydney said the partnership offered the hope of developing broadly protective COVID-19 vaccines.

“Our researchers are at the medical forefront of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as anticipating what may lie ahead,” she said.

Lead University of Sydney investigator Professor Jamie Triccas said the collaboration aimed to deliver safe, affordable and highly effective vaccines to combat existing and future SARS-CoV-2 variants.

“Our international consortium is well placed to achieve this goal,” he said.

Also on Wednesday, Western Australia’s Covid-19 infections continued to surge with a record daily tally of 17,033 a rise of more than 4600 from Tuesday’s figure of 12,390.

However, hospitalisation rates remained relatively stable, with 275 people in hospital and seven in intensive care.

 

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