MRFF grants to support Monash research into COVID-19

Three Monash University projects have received $ 10.8 million from the Medical Research Future Fund to support research that improves our understanding of COVID-19 and helps develop new and improved treatments.

The grants are among 14 projects to receive $ 31.5 million under the latest round of MRFF grants.

Monash projects include a study of antibodies and cellular immune responses after infection or vaccination in healthy and vulnerable people, a coordinated multi-platform randomized study for hospitalized patients with COVID-19, and preclinical testing of novel inhaled RNA-based therapies for stability, safety and efficacy against COVID-19.

The projects funded by the MRFF are:

PROPHECY: Immune Response Profiling in Pediatric and High-Risk Populations for SARS-CoV-2 – $ 6,327,000

Led by Associate Professor Menno van Zelm

COVID-19 vaccines protect against serious disease. However, people with underlying health conditions remain at risk for infection and associated complications. The PROPHECY study will evaluate antibodies and cellular immune responses after infection or vaccination in healthy and vulnerable people to assess their protection against future variants. These findings will inform future clinical care for COVID-19 and targeted approaches to improve vaccine responses in vulnerable patient groups.

A coordinated cross-platform randomized trial for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 – $ 4,000,000

Led by Professor Steven Webb

This proposal supports two well-established adaptive platform trials, ASCOT-ADAPT and REMAP-CAP, which come together to identify effective treatments for COVID-19 as quickly as possible. The new interventions that will be evaluated are excellent antivirals, the dose of dexamethasone; comparing two immunomodulators (tocilizumab and baricitinib) to determine which plasma is the most effective and convalescent in immunosuppressed patients.

Read more about this research here.

Preclinical testing of new inhaled RNA therapies for stability, safety and efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 to prove proof of concept – $ 500,000

Led by Professor Merlin Thomas

RNA can be used to treat human diseases. It can be used to provide a model for creating a new protein, such as in messenger RNA vaccines. RNA can also be used to selectively modify the message and the protein generated by a gene. We have shown that inhaled RNA can change the proteins produced by the lungs in order to protect them against SARS-CoV-2 and its associated hyperinflammation in the lungs. In this project we will develop these new treatments in animal models as precursors of human trials.

Read the full Monash announcement here.


About Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest university with over 80,000 students. In the 60 years since its founding, it has developed a reputation for high-impact research, quality teaching and inspiring world-class innovation.

With four campuses in Australia and a presence in Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia and Italy, it is one of Australia’s most internationalized universities.

As a leading international university in medical research with the largest medical school in Australia and integrating with Australia’s leading university hospitals, we consistently rank among the world’s top 50 universities for clinical, preclinical and health sciences.

For more news, visit Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences or Monash University.

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