NSW spearheads key COVID-19 vaccine research

A leading group of experts in New South Wales will launch Australia’s first research to inform vaccine policy in the state and beyond.

The Collaborative Research Group on Vaccines, Infections and Immunology (VIIM) will receive more than $ 4.5 million in NSW government funding over three years to study clinical and immunological responses to COVID-19 vaccines in NSW beneficiaries.

VIIM brings together the leading researchers and practitioners in vaccines, infections and immunology in New South Wales. It integrates the expertise of two universities, four medical research institutes, the statewide pathology service, adult and pediatric health services and the National Center for Immunization Research and Surveillance.

NSW Director of Health Dr Kerry Chant said the program will strengthen our knowledge of COVID-19 vaccines, including their effectiveness against variant strains of the virus in the years to come.

“With the vaccine rollout now well underway, this real-world surveillance and research will continue to provide us with timely and robust data to ensure the best outcomes for the people of NSW and help us chart the way forward,” Dr Chant said. .

“This puts us in a strong position and will inform a vaccine policy that can address emerging issues and opportunities, as well as future development and testing of next-generation vaccines.

“We continue to learn throughout this pandemic and this research will allow us to advise on immunization schedules, including the potential need for booster vaccines for vulnerable groups and the wider community.”

Dr Chant said NSW is in a unique position to enrich the global body of knowledge on vaccines and immunity, as the majority of our population has not been exposed to COVID-19, unlike many other countries. .

“This research will also establish an invaluable biobank of specimens that will be crucial for current and future research to keep the people of NSW healthy and protected from infectious disease,” said Dr Chant.

VIIM’s experts in vaccines, infections and immunity are from the Western Sydney Local Health District, Sydney Local Health District, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, NSW Health Pathology, National Center for Immunization Research and Surveillance, University of Sydney’s Marie Bashir Institute, University of NSW, Westmead Institute of Medical Research, Centenary Institute and Kirby Institute.

The grant is part of the $ 25 million COVID-19 priority research fund previously announced by the state.

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Hector Hedgepeth

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