Burnet Institute’s Professor Geoff Pietersz is one of eight researchers awarded with a NHMRC grant to conduct research into the Hendra virus, following a fresh outbreak in Queensland.
Currently there is no vaccine or drugs for the Hendra virus so Professor Pietersz, Head of the Bio-Organic and Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory at Burnet, will use his grant to develop a vaccine.
“Since humans are infected by inhalation, a vaccine that can generate antibody in the lung and protect from infection will be ideal,” Professor Pietersz said.
“We have found that a natural sugar called manna used with virus proteins and administered through the nostrils can generate such responses.”
These projects follow a recent Urgent Call for Research by the NHMRC with the eight best proposals having immediate access to funding.
NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson said the call for research was highly effective in recruiting the best research proposals to increase the body of knowledge about human health issues related to Hendra virus.
Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek said the research aimed to bring about a better understanding of the virus, the development of management procedures and improved patient treatments.
“The Government is committed to strengthening Australia’s biosecurity defences by funding quality scientific research that helps to protect the nation against Hendra virus,” Minister Plibersek said.