Vaccines & antivirals
Effective and widely available vaccines and antivirals will be vital for people worldwide to be able to safely return to normal activities. As one of the world’s top three child health research institutes, MCRI is collaborating with our partners worldwide in the pursuit of these essential tools.
Professor Nigel Curtis is leading a randomised controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine in reducing incidence and severity of COVID-19 in healthcare workers. The study commenced in late March in Australia and with a $10M investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will now expand to include 10,000 workers across Australia and Europe. Further discussions around expansion to the US, Africa and India are underway.
MCRI researchers are making human heart and kidney tissue, and blood vessels, derived from human induced pluripotent stem cell lines to support research facilities across Australia that have established live COVID-19 cultures for the purpose of assaying viral titre and infectivity to facilitate rapid repurposing of existing drugs and accelerate the evaluation of new drugs prior to clinical trial.
Professor Melissa Little is leading MCRI’s world-class Stem Cell Medicine research program, focussed on the delivery of human stem cell treatments for patients, including disease modelling, drug screening, cell therapies and bioengineered tissues.
Dr Amanda Gwee is leading a world-first paediatric clinical trial to determine the efficacy of oral hydroxchloroquine care for children with moderate to severe COVID-19. Preliminary evidence suggests that HCQ - already used to manage arthritis, lupus and malaria in children, may inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection. Outcomes may change clinical care for children infected with COVID-19 and severe acute respiratory distress.