Flu & RSV study could save lives of older Western Australians - Institute for Respiratory Health

Flu & RSV study could save lives of older Western Australians

Tuesday, July 05, 2022 | News

Older Western Australians aged 65 plus could receive an RSV and flu jab together in the future if a promising new clinical trial managed by the Institute for Respiratory Health is successful.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), a common winter bug, is highly contagious and can cause severe infections in the lungs and breathing passages. It spreads quickly via coughing and sneezing.

There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment available globally.

“The risk of serious infection increases in older adults and for those with chronic lung disease, or a weakened immune system,” clinical trials manager Meagan Shorten said.

“With international borders opening and Covid-19 restrictions easing combined with the start of winter and the onset of the flu season, there has been a surge in RSV and flu cases across Australia with the vulnerable and young kids.

“There is a need to develop a safe and effective vaccine to prevent the spread of RSV and to save lives. But it’s been a goal that hasn’t been achieved due to various scientific hurdles.”

The clinical trial is funded by Pfizer and will involve 2,300 participants from around Australia. Volunteers will receive an RSV and flu vaccine simultaneously, or a month apart.

It’s being conducted at 30 investigator sites in all capital cities including Perth.

“To be eligible for the study participants must be generally healthy adults 65 years of age or older and have not received a flu vaccine this winter,” Meagan shorted said.

“It’s great to be part of this leading study. A successful vaccine could save many lives.”

Interested volunteers should contact the clinical trials team at the Institute for Respiratory Health if they wish to participate.