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Six Victorians have rolled up their sleeves to become human test subjects for two brand-new Melbourne-made COVID-19 vaccines.

The inoculations have been developed by the Doherty Institute and Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

They are administered as a fourth dose and are designed to be more effective against new strains of COVID-19.

Stephen, 61, was the first volunteer to receive the new COVID-19 vaccine produced in Melbourne.
Stephen, 61, was the first volunteer to receive the new COVID-19 vaccine produced in Melbourne. (9News)

For 61-year-old Stephen, putting his hand up to become the first volunteer was important.

“I wanted to contribute something,” he said.

“I don’t feel as though my experience of COVID was nearly as stressful as so many others.

“And also I believe in the science.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: A COVID-19 testing clinic sign at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on January 21, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. NSW has recorded 46 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, marking the deadliest day in the state since the start of the pandemic. NSW also recorded 25,168 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hour reporting period. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

Your COVID-19 questions answered

Head of the Vaccine and Immunisation Research Group at the Doherty Institute Professor Terry Nolan said the participants involved were required to keep a diary of any symptoms they experience over the following month.

“In addition, these initial participants and all others in the study will have numerous assessments, including a blood test, and after 30 days so we can analyse their antibody response,” he said.

“We’re probably going to need COVID vaccines forever.”

Six Victorians have rolled up their sleeves to become human test subjects for two brand-new Melbourne-made COVID-19 vaccines.
Six Victorians have rolled up their sleeves to become human test subjects for two brand-new Melbourne-made COVID-19 vaccines. (9News)

Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences Professor Colin Pouton said it was an “exciting moment” for the team to see patients receive the first doses.

“Getting to this stage has been an enormous team effort across both institutes, and we look forward to seeing how the vaccines continue to perform in clinic,” he said.

“I think we have to be prepared for new variants. I think Omicron obviously took everyone by surprise.”

There are two different vaccines being tested.

The first is the Doherty’s traditional protein-based inoculation, while Monash is trialling a newer mRNA vaccine.

Both will target the tip of the COVID-19 spike protein, the dangerous part of the virus that infiltrates cells.

The inoculations have been developed by the Doherty Institute and Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Melbourne.
The inoculations have been developed by the Doherty Institute and Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Melbourne. (9News)

“We have good reason to think both will be effective but you don’t quite know until you see the data in participants,” Pouton said.

Medical Research Minister Jaala Pulford said the trial was about boosting the state’s vaccine supply.

“We did have for quite some months where we had an Australian population that were busting for a vaccine and couldn’t get one,” she said.

“We never want to be in that situation again.”

It is uncertain how long the trial will take to complete.

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