Mater Research hunts to find lifesaving cure for deadly respiratory virus in babies

Mater Research hunts to find lifesaving cure for deadly respiratory virus in babies

Families across Australia may soon be able to breathe a little easier with a group of some of the country’s leading researchers and clinicians banding together to find a cure for a deadly respiratory virus, most dangerous in babies and infants.  

A highly-specialised team of researchers from Mater Research in Queensland have begun clinical trials to find a first-of-its-kind vaccine for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, as the first group in Australia and only second across the world to commence research of this type.

With currently no treatment or vaccine options, Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV as it is commonly known is the second biggest killer to malaria for infectious disease-related deaths in infants under one year.

Though most dangerous in infants, the virus affects people of all ages killing more than 100 000 people each year, along with millions becoming sick or critically ill with the virus known to cause pneumonia, bronchiolitis and other lower respiratory tract diseases.

This ground-breaking clinical trial seeks to investigate the effects of a maternal vaccine to treat RSV with the goal of providing immunity to babies through their mother’s pregnancy.

The trial kicked off at Mater Mothers’ Hospital this month, working with a group of expectant mothers from 24 – 34 weeks pregnant, lead by nationally-renowned Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist, Dr Glenn Gardener and Infectious Diseases Expert and Microbiologist, Associate Professor Paul Griffin.

“RSV is undoubtedly a concern for people of all ages but as one of the most dangerous infectious diseases in infants, it is even more concerning which is why our multidisciplinary team is committed to finding a vaccine for this disease,” A/Prof Paul Griffin said.  

“In conducting these trials, we are bringing together a number of key researchers from across a wide range of disciplines to ensure we have the very best chance at finding a vaccine for this virus.”

“Being part of this study means that we can continue to educate and look to create a vaccine to end the devastating effects of RSV in the future and if successful, we expect this vaccine will help approximately 34 million babies each year and can be provided free of charge to Third World countries,” Dr Gardener added.  

“It is amazing news that we are the first site in Australia and only the second in the world to be approved and commence recruitment in this important RSV clinical trial.  We are excited to see what a difference we can make to the outcomes of the many babies impacted by this virus” 

Mater Clinical Trials Unit team, Mother and Baby Research Team, are looking for eligible women to participate. Expectant mothers 18–49 years of age and 24–34 weeks pregnant are encouraged to be part of the change.

Watch the video to find out more and visit the RSV website to find out how you can participate.

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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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