The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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

Our Work | COVID-19

Vaccines and Antibodies

Phase I study of two second generation COVID-19 variant vaccines

Recruitment now open

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity is conducting a study of experimental COVID vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 virus. The safety and ability of the new vaccines to promote a protective immune response will be studied.

Healthy adult volunteers are needed.

Since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, several safe and effective vaccines have been developed and licensed worldwide. However, there is an important need for more vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 to ensure global supply.

This study will be looking at two different vaccines for prevention of COVID-19 infection. Both vaccines are locally made in Australia.

The vaccines are a recombinant protein vaccine (similar to the Novavax vaccine) and an mRNA vaccine (similar to Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines).

We are recruiting participants who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes having received a third booster vaccination.  You may still be eligible even if you have previously had COVID-19 infection.

You may be eligible to participate in this clinical trial if you are:

- Aged over 18 years and

- In good health

The study includes receiving one vaccine, as well as blood samples and follow-up for approximately 6 months.

You will be reimbursed for your travel and time on the study.

For more information please contact us:


The Doherty Institute has been funded through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) by the Medical Research Future Fund to conduct a unique Phase I study of two second generation COVID-19 variant vaccines.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is enveloped by proteins that resemble spikes, which enable the virus to attach and enter cells in our bodies. This attachment is mediated by the tip of the spike protein, known as the receptor binding domain (RBD). Our vaccine candidates focus specifically on the RBD because if we can block this attachment we can block infection.

The vaccines in our trial use two very different approaches:

  1. RBD protein – represents the tip of the spike to focus the immune response on this critical region of the virus targeted by antibodies that neutralise viral infectivity.
  2. RBD mRNA – represents the virus genetic sequence that codes for the tip of the spike, which will lead to production of the RBD protein.

The protein vaccine candidate has been developed by scientists at the Doherty Institute, and the mRNA vaccine candidate by scientists from the Monash University Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences.

This will be the first time a side-by-side comparison will be undertaken of two COVID vaccines.


  • Medical Research Future Fund
  • mRNA Victoria
  • Jack Ma Foundation
  • IFM Investors
  • Australian Research Council
  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
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