Thursday, May 23, 2024

Seniors rush to trial COVID vaccine

Linear staff with the first patient “Neil” to be dosed with the trial vaccine.

A ground-breaking COVID-19 vaccine trial for Seniors is underway in Perth, with applications to take part breaking the clinical trial facility’s records.

Perth’s Linear Clinical Research Chief Executive Officer, Jayden Rogers said the facility had received 4,000 applications from people keen to take part in the trial.

The potential vaccine being trialled, ‘S-Timer’ is one of the first protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the world to initiate clinical testing to demonstrate safety and immune response against the coronavirus.

The first two trial participants received the vaccine on June 19 and a total of 10 participants have been dosed as of June 24.

“Over the next few months, an additional 140 participants aged between 18 to 75 years, will also receive the vaccine as part of the phase one clinical trial,” said Mr Rogers.

Mr Rogers said the start of the human trial was an important milestone in the global effort to find a vaccine for COVID-19.

“It usually takes years to get to this stage, but vaccine experts have been working hard around the world to fast-track this promising vaccine candidate,” said Mr Rogers.

“We were overwhelmed by the support we received from the WA public to trial this vaccine,” he said.

“Over 4000 registrations was a new record for Linear and we are appreciative to all of the people who wanted to contribute to finding a vaccine for the coronavirus.”

“The participants are doing really well and we are collecting valuable data which will inform this study and many more around the world.”

One of the trial participants is Perth doctor, Chris Rynn, who volunteered because he wanted to help in the quest to find a successful vaccine.

“I understand the implications COVID-19 has for the medical profession, so I felt this is an important way I can help in speeding up the process of finding a vaccine,” Dr Rynn said.

“I encouraged my friends to also register for the COVID-19 vaccine trial,” he said.

The COVID-19 vaccine trial is randomised and double-blind, with some participants receiving the vaccine candidate and others receiving a placebo. Participants receive two injections in the arm 21 days apart and are monitored for an hour in the ward and then from their homes.

Preliminary safety and immunogenicity results are expected starting from August. If successful, it is expected the vaccine will be given to thousands of people around the world by the end of this year.

Mr Rogers said the COVID-19 S-Trimer vaccine trial was promising because:

  • The vaccine candidate was developed by China-based, global biotechnology company Clover Biopharmaceuticals. Clover was one of the first companies to develop a protein-based vaccine based on the coronavirus Spike (S) protein, which the virus needs to enter host cells.
  • Clover’s Trimer-Tag © technology platform – is unique in the way it mimics the native viral Spike protein with the aim of producing an immune response specific to the Coronavirus. The technology has been safely used in vaccine development for other RNA-based viruses such as influenza, RSV and HIV.
  • Comprehensive preclinical work – while speed has been important in developing a potential vaccine for COVID-19, pre-clinical testing for safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine candidate has been a priority.
  • Collaboration with renowned global vaccine development experts – the trial features innovations from GSK (UK), Dynavax (US) and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI Norway).

Mr Rogers said the COVID-19 S-Trimer vaccine showed immense potential and securing the trial had been a major coup for WA.

“This is one of the most prominent trials globally and WA is playing a significant part because we are recognised as world leaders in early stage clinical trials,” he said.

“WA is in the unique position of having successfully suppressed COVID-19, so we can now dedicate resources to prevention.”

“I applaud the thousands of people who registered to take part in this trial – it further demonstrates how members of our community are willing to play their part in helping fight COVID-19.”

Joshua Liang, Chief Executive Officer at Clover Biopharmaceuticals and co-inventor of the COVID-19 S-Trimer vaccine, said collaborators around the world had been working non-stop on the trial since January.

“We remain focused on developing a safe, effective and accessible COVID-19 vaccine at a scale that can potentially impact the course of the pandemic globally,” he said.

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