Clinical trial of potential vaccine for cytomegalovirus

University of the Sunshine Coast

USC Clinical Trials will soon partner Moderna in a phase 3 trial of an investigational mRNA vaccine for cytomegalovirus (CMV) at its Morayfield, Sippy Downs and South Bank clinics.

CMV is a common viral infection that can affect people of all ages. Symptoms are generally mild, however can be severe in those with weakened immune systems.

The virus can be passed from an infected pregnant woman to her child and can cause disability and even death in newborns. It is possible that a CMV vaccine could prevent this from occurring and save many lives.

USC Clinical Trial’s Principal Investigator Associate Professor Sue Thackwray will oversee the trial that will assess the ability of the investigational vaccine to prevent CMV infection.

Dr Thackwray said the study required healthy volunteers aged 18-40 to commit to receiving three injections over 6 months.

“This mRNA technology, which is being used to fight COVID-19, is now being evaluated to see if it can fight and prevent other viral infections like CMV,” she said.

“The technology involves providing a set of instructions to our cells to make proteins that look like the virus being targeted. Our immune system recognises them as foreign proteins and mounts an immune response by making antibodies, which may ultimately lead to immunity against the virus.”

USC Clinical Trials Director Lucas Litewka said being involved in this study would not affect a participant’s eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccination. However, he said volunteers would be asked to confirm any planned COVID-19 vaccination dates with their study site due to timing considerations.

Participants will be required to attend up to six visits at either USC Clinical Trials’ Morayfield, Sippy Downs or South Bank centres and participate in two follow-up phone calls. They will be involved in the study for up to 30 months.

Eligible participants will be paid for their time involved in the study. Those interested in volunteering can find more information at www.usc.edu.au/trials

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