The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


26 Apr 2022

Setting it Straight: Limiting the infection toll on a warming planet

The first thing most of us think about when it comes to protection against any infection is vaccination. As we’ve discussed (#97-99), there are good vaccines against Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and yellow fever virus (YFV), but we’ve never developed one for Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVE) or for Ross River virus (RRV). Though RRV is a reasonably prominent cause of infection and (often lingering) clinical impairment in Australia, it does not kill people and the financial case for expensive vaccine testing and later deployment has not been considered strong enough. Early studies suggest that an effective, inactivated whole virus RRV vaccine would work fine, and it’s likely an appropriate mRNA product that could be made fast if needed. As things stand, with a dangerous virus like JEV that causes periodic outbreaks in, say, the Murray Darling region, the use of currently available, approved and long-acting JEV vaccines could be appropriate for those living in the region. Developing vaccines to protect against malaria is problematic but, again, the use of mRNA technology may provide new possibilities.