Clinical trial of ’universal’ flu vaccine - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Clinical trial of ’universal’ flu vaccine

4 Apr 2019

USC Clinical Trials is about to begin research into an experimental “universal” influenza vaccine.

The flu is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications, including pneumonia. It is spread by contact with fluids from coughs and sneezes, and is estimated to contribute to more than 3,000 deaths in Australia each year.

Flu sufferers may experience fever, headache, muscle pain and soreness, cough, sore throat and stuffy nose.

An annual immunisation against the flu is recommended for everyone, especially the elderly and people with chronic disease. However, it is not always 100 percent effective, as there are many different flu viruses and not all are covered by currently available vaccines each year.

USC Clinical Trials Director Lucas Litewka said this trial was an important step in identifying a broad-spectrum vaccine that could transform global health and potentially eliminate the need for annual flu vaccinations.

“This is a very exciting potential experimental therapy that has been undergoing clinical trials for several years now,” Mr Litewka said.

He said the trial was planned for the coming Southern Hemisphere flu season, which usually runs from May to October, and would be conducted by Dr Nova Evans and Dr Susan Thackwray at the Health Hub Morayfield and Sippy Downs.

Dr Evans said: “This is a trial for everyday people in real-life situations to take part in to help our broader community.” 

“Contributing to the study is a simple, safe and well-supported process which may lead to reducing the number of vaccinations we will all be recommended in the future,” he said.

Adults over the age of 18 can take part in this trial and will receive the current flu vaccine in addition to the experimental flu vaccine.

Those who meet the criteria and are enrolled in the study will be reimbursed for their time. Patients interested in participating can go to

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