Australia accelerates new COVID-19 vaccine to fight mutant strains

13-May-2021 2:05 AM EDT, by University of South Australia

Newswise — A leading South Australian immunologist has been awarded $3 million from the Federal Government to accelerate work on a locally developed Covid-19 vaccine, in what's anticipated to be the second line of defence against the virus.

Professor John Hayball is a researcher at the University of South Australia and Chief Scientific Officer at Adelaide biotechnology company Sementis.

UniSA and Sementis have partnered in the development of a next-generation Covid-19 vaccine based on the Sementis Copenhagen Vector (SCV) platform. The vaccine has been in development since March 2020.

The Sementis vaccine is intended to provide an Australian-owned and developed vaccine technology, complementing the existing vaccines being rolled out nationally and contributing to global solutions to Covid-19.

Prof Hayball has been awarded the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant to fast-track human clinical trials of the Sementis vaccine within 18 months, and deliver long-term, and broad-ranging immunity to SARS-CoV-2.

"The SCV platform is the most advanced viral-vector vaccine platform technology to be developed in Australia," Prof Hayball says.

"Crucially, our Sementis vaccine is anticipated to be effective against mutant strains of COVID-19.

"It will be a stand-alone addition to the suite of locally available vaccines, as well as a potent booster to all approved vaccines, protecting the health of all Australians. It is also expected to provide a strong boost to those who have already recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection."

A key advantage of the SCV platform is its unique ability to accommodate large amounts of genetic information and is therefore ideally suited to deliver more complex or multiple antigens to the immune system.

"This means that we can incorporate other antigenic proteins from SARS-CoV-2 into the vaccine with the aim to generate broad-ranging immunity and prevent transmission, areas of increasing importance in response to SARS-CoV-2 mutant strains."

The Sementis vaccine is being developed with a view to large-scale manufacturing. A key component to moving forward will be the ability to transfer the vaccine from the laboratory to industrial processing.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed serious shortcomings in Australia's capacity to respond to emerging infectious disease threats," Prof Hayball says.

"Until now, we have had no capacity to respond, but that is changing. We believe that UniSA and Sementis will not only be key contributors to curbing COVID-19, but in responding to future pandemic threats.

"There are many experimental vaccines in development that may or may not be effective in the fight against COVID-19, but unless they can be manufactured at scale, they will never be used to control the pandemic," Prof Hayball says.

Prof Hayball has spent the past 10 years working with Sementis to develop vaccines to counter potential pandemics.

"From a personal point of view, this has been a journey of a lifetime. It's obviously been a devastating pandemic but one that I have spent the past decade training for."

Sementis Chief Executive Officer, Leanne Hobbs, says that pending the outcomes of the clinical trials and manufacturing capabilities, the vaccine could be ready to enter production in the second half of 2022.

"There is terrific vaccine R&D happening across Australia," she says. "We are not only focused on contributing an Australian solution to the global fight against COVID-19; we also want to help build Australia's capability to respond to the next pandemic."

"Our focus is to develop our vaccine in the most robust way for a long-term public health outcome. We have an experienced team working on this project and now with the support of the MRFF we can now accelerate development of our vaccine candidate.

"This grant is a major endorsement of the potential of our technology, the product of our long-standing collaboration between Sementis and UniSA and we look forward to progressing our vaccine technology to improve health outcomes for the Australian community."

The MRFF is a $20 billion long-term Federal Government investment supporting health and medical research.

Notes to editors

A video of Professor John Hayball discussing the vaccine is available at

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5861
Released: 23-Jun-2021 12:10 PM EDT
Phone swabs can accurately detect COVID-19
University College London

An accurate, non-invasive, and low-cost method of testing for COVID-19 using samples taken from the screens of mobile phones has been developed by a team led by UCL researchers at Diagnosis Biotech.

Newswise: NIH study suggests COVID-19 prevalence far exceeded early pandemic cases
Released: 23-Jun-2021 11:35 AM EDT
NIH study suggests COVID-19 prevalence far exceeded early pandemic cases
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

In a new study, NIH researchers report that the prevalence of COVID-19 in the United States during spring and summer of 2020 far exceeded the known number of cases and that infection affected the country unevenly.

Released: 23-Jun-2021 11:25 AM EDT
Half of young adults with covid-19 have persistent symptoms 6 months after
University of Bergen

A paper published in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine on long-COVID, describes persistent symptoms six months after acute COVID-19, even in young home isolated people.

Newswise:Video Embedded covid-19-vaccine-hesitancy-dr-vin-gupta-narrates-new-american-thoracic-society-video
Released: 23-Jun-2021 9:40 AM EDT
COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: Dr. Vin Gupta Narrates New American Thoracic Society Video
American Thoracic Society (ATS)

The American Thoracic Society rolls out a new video to address vaccine hesitancy and answer common questions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

18-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT
Had COVID-19? One Vaccine Dose Enough; Boosters For All, Study Says
American Chemical Society (ACS)

A new study in ACS Nano supports increasing evidence that people who had COVID-19 need only one vaccine dose, and that boosters could be necessary for everyone in the future.

Released: 22-Jun-2021 5:10 PM EDT
Tecnología de inteligencia artificial y ECG puede rápidamente descartar infección por COVID-19
Mayo Clinic

La inteligencia artificial puede ofrecer un manera de determinar con exactitud que una persona no está infectada con la COVID-19. Un estudio internacional y retrospectivo descubrió que la infección por SARS-CoV-2, el virus que causa la COVID-19, provoca sutiles cambios eléctricos en el corazón. Un electrocardiograma (ECG) mediado por inteligencia artificial detecta estos cambios y puede servir como una prueba rápida y confiable para descartar la infección por COVID-19.

Released: 22-Jun-2021 4:45 PM EDT
Penn Medicine to Use $1M from City of Philadelphia for Additional Community Vaccination Clinics
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Medicine will continue its collaboration with the West and Southwest Philadelphia communities to operate a series of COVID-19 vaccine clinics in partnership with community organizations, faith-based institutions, restaurants, barbershops, and even professional sports teams thanks to $1 million in funding from the City of Philadelphia, in partnership with PMHCC.

Released: 22-Jun-2021 12:30 PM EDT
Political Variables Carried More Weight Than Healthcare in Government Response to COVID-19
Binghamton University, State University of New York

Political institutions such as the timing of elections and presidentialism had a larger influence on COVID-19 strategies than the institutions organizing national healthcare, according to a research team led by a professor at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

22-Jun-2021 12:00 PM EDT
Study Testing How Well COVID-19 Vaccine Prevents Infection and Spread of SARS-CoV-2 Among University Students Now Expands to Include Young Adults Beyond the University Setting
Covid-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN)

The Prevent COVID U study, which launched in late March 2021 to evaluate SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission among university students vaccinated with the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, has expanded beyond the university setting to enroll young adults ages 18 through 29 years and will now also include people in this age group who choose not to receive a vaccine.

Newswise: First Wave COVID-19 Data Underestimated Pandemic Infections
18-Jun-2021 8:30 AM EDT
First Wave COVID-19 Data Underestimated Pandemic Infections
American Institute of Physics (AIP)

Two COVID-19 pandemic curves emerged within many cities during the one-year period from March 2020 to March 2021. Oddly, the number of total daily infections reported during the first wave is much lower than that of the second, but the total number of daily deaths reported during the first wave is much higher than the second wave.

Showing results

110 of 5861