Scientists aim for single flu and pneumonia vaccine: SA

06 July, 2012

Professor James Paton, has won an ARC Linkage grant to develop a single, long-lasting vaccine for influenza and pneumonia.

University of Adelaide researchers will team with industry to develop a single vaccine for both influenza and pneumonia, in the hope of saving millions of lives around the world each year.

The project is one of 11 major new research projects at the University of Adelaide to win funding from the Federal Government, totalling more than $3.6 million.

The funding - from the Australian Research Council's Linkage Projects scheme - has been awarded for outstanding research projects in partnership with industry and government.

Professor James Paton (School of Molecular and Biomedical Science) and industry partner Gamma Vaccines Pty Ltd have been awarded $276,000 to develop a single vaccine that provides long-lasting protection against the flu and pneumonia.

"Right across the world, the influenza virus and the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus) individually cause serious illness and death from acute respiratory infections. However, these two pathogens can also combine and synergise with each other to create a deadly super-infection," says Professor Paton, who is Director of the University's Research Centre for Infectious Diseases.

"For example, more than half of the 50 million deaths that occurred during the 1918-19 flu pandemic were directly attributable to pneumococcal super-infection."

Paton and his colleagues aim to develop a single vaccine capable of providing broad-based protection against both of these pathogens.

"This project is an excellent example of the University of Adelaide working with industry to achieve great benefits for the community," says the University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Mike Brooks.

"Much of our research effort is directed at critical global challenges facing our society. These include improved human health, food security, a sustainable environment, and renewable energy, among others.

"This is outstanding work that is being conducted right here at our University, which has the potential to produce tangible benefits for millions of people the world over," Brooks says.

Source: University of Adelaide