AITHM James Cook University

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The Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) at James Cook University welcomes the $1.06 million Australian Tropical Medicine Commercialisation Grant announced in Cairns today by Federal Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo.

The grant will support the formation in northern Queensland of a commercial venture by AITHM in collaboration with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for the production and testing of a new malaria vaccine.

“This is an investment in jobs and growth for northern Queensland, through tropical health and medicine,” AITHM Director Professor Louis Schofield said.

Malaria kills about 700,000 people each year. At the AITHM laboratories in Cairns and Townsville, researchers are tackling the complex challenges posed by the disease, including the mosquitoes that transmit it and the five species of parasite than can infect humans.

“There is an urgent need for a broadly effective vaccine. Our prototype vaccine may overcome these barriers by attacking most species and stages in the malaria life cycle,” Professor Louis Schofield said.

“This grant builds on funding of $2.8 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and will accelerate the development of a vaccine against malaria.”

The grant will enable the researchers to develop the manufacturing process required to take the vaccine to clinical trials in Queensland. Safety testing of the vaccine will also be undertaken in Queensland.

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