A more effective seasonal flu vaccine developed in South Australia is about to be tested in clinical trials across the US.
The new-and-improved flu shot is believed to be the first human drug in the world to be completely designed by artificial intelligence.
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Flinders University professor Dr Nikolai Petrovsky says it is “tremendous” to see such a “promising vaccine” move forward to human trials.
“This represents the start of a new era where artificial intelligence is going to play an increasingly dominant role in drug discovery and design,” he said.
“Despite currently available vaccines, flu remains a very major global health problem.”
The vaccine uses adjuvants — substances which act as a turbocharger to enhance their ability to protect against infection.
So far this year there have been more than 96,000 confirmed flu cases across Australia, with the virus claiming more than 220 lives nationwide.
Flinders University Associate Professor Dr Dimitar Sajkov says a number of influenza patients seen this year had received the 2019 vaccine, highlighting the need for an improved shot.
The US clinical trial will take about 12 months to complete and aims to recruit 240 healthy volunteers.
The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the US National Institutes of Health.
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