Who knew? The first traditional vaccine for Covid that’s based on protein anywhere in the world has been approved for use. It was designed in Australia, but can’t be used here. The Professor of the team that invented it received no help from the Australian Government, and is about to be sacked from Flinders Medical Centre** because he won’t take the mandatory Pfizer, Astra Zenica or Moderna injections. What would he know — he’s just a vaccine developer?
UPDATE: The SA Govt will now recognise the Covax-19 trial participants. This is a small step but good news. Prof Petrovsky won’t be forced to quit.
Instead of the committee-approved ones, has taken his own vaccine called Covax-19 or Spikogen. It has just been approved for use in Iran where Stage 2 and 3 trials were conducted. He said he would stand by his vaccine and even accept liability, unlike all the current vaccine makers who demand waivers.
Professor Nikolai Petrovsky is hopeful though, that after “the excellent Phase 3 trial results” he will be able to get approval in many countries, maybe even in Australia? But our government-funded TGA won’t consider it until his team pays over $300,000 so they can assess it.
You’d never know the Australian government was trying to save Australians lives, or give our citizens more choices. Perhaps because they aren’t? If they were interested, they would surely find a way to fast track the assessment process and cover the trivial cost of reading a report from Iran. The Government has spent $1.9 billion on other vaccines, but can’t find 300k for the most successful Australian vaccine in years?
The situation is so comic, Petrovsky has had to resort to crowdfunding, so they can afford to pay our government to get approval. They have set up a GoFundMe page, which has already raised $290,000 out of the $326,000 already.
I’ve donated. (Don’t call me anti-vax, I put money into vaccine research🙂 )
UPDATE: Within 8 hours of posting this $36,000 was donated and the target reached. Thank you!
Judging by the comments there, there are already a thousand volunteers for a trial here.
Petrovsky tells us there are great results from the latest trial in Iran but he can’t make the results
public yet. (He’s hoping his papers on that will be accepted so he can). He claims they meet all the FDA and other requirements to be approved. Apparently, in animal tests, after vaccination, they can challenge the animals with live virus and not only do they not fall sick, the team can find no recoverable virus in challenge tests, which is excellent. There’s no transmission to other animals either. He calls the vaccine “quasi sterilizing”. If it’s a lot less leaky that “all the rest”, it may even help mop up the nastier mutations we’re probably making by giving millions of people very leaky vaccines. Wouldn’t that be something?
Covax-19 apparently causes few side effects. Petrovsky claims there is no thrombosis, no fever, no myocarditis, and no myocardial infarction. No one needs to take a day off work…
Perhaps the biggest problem for Covax-19 is that it’s too good?
If I understand correctly, despite all these advantages, and it being home-grown, the government told him they couldn’t support a vaccine unless it was manufactured in Australia. But when he approached CSL — the main likely manufacturer in Australia — they flat out refused to even consider it. What can Petrovsky do? Maybe move to Tehran.
Right now, a certain leaky lab in Wuhan has another 19,000 samples from bat caves to play with. There are plenty of pandemics to pick from. Perhaps for the sake of National Security we need our own vaccination and pharmaceutical manufacturing base? We need supply lines and expertise here. Isn’t Covax-19 the perfect place to start?
Nuclear subs are all very well, but they can’t shoot pandemics.
Having dedicated his career to creating vaccines, Professor Petrovsky can hardly be called an anti-vaxxer. But he has safety concerns about the current rollout, and thinks mandates can’t be justified for something that is mostly done for individual benefits not for the community. He is also astonished at how fast the other vaccines were approved, and all damages waived, and doesn’t think the risk benefit can be justified at all for young children. He bemoans the lack of transparency. Don’t we all?
If Pfizer etc is so good, Why o Why are those Pfizer contracts top secret?
A protein vaccine is a simpler creature than the new mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna). It’s simpler than Astra Zenica too, which is based on using genes inside a common cold virus vector. Novavax is also a protein vaccine (but it is not approved anywhere yet).
Like Novavax, Covax-19 uses a form of the infamous spike protein, but because the protein is made, purified and then injected, each person receives an exact known dose, and there is no need for any genetic material to be introduced inside our cells. There’s little risk of autoimmune disorders, like myocarditis, because the spike isn’t made inside our own cells and isn’t expressed on the surface of them. When healthy cells express the spike, our immune system is more likely to mistake them as a foreign threat which triggers the autoimmune disease.
The adjuvant used is also promising. An adjuvant is designed to wake up our immune systems so they pay attention to something that essentially poses no threat (in theory). In many vaccines the adjuvant is just aluminium hydroxide (would you believe), but Covax-19 doesn’t contain any heavy metals. Petrovsky uses the incredibly safe plant fibre called “inulin” plus a small oligosaccharide (a small odd type of sugar unit).
1. Why has the Australian government refused to engage with Australian vaccine creators?
2. Why has CSL refused to cooperate with Australian vaccine companies?
3. What are in those secret commercial contracts with Pfizer et al?
4. Are there clauses that prevent competition and consideration of products that are actually safer for the Australian population?
Australians need a choice of treatment, and we need our own vaccine industry.
I believe he said Covax-19 was given to 16,000 people in Iran for Phase III Clinical Trials. Yet Greg Hunt, our Minister for Health, is not supporting this venture with even $10. Do Australian lives matter? It is outrageous that CSL is failing the Australian people.
Petrovsky explains that the reason the current vaccines are not very useful is because they just don’t reduce the Ro (rate of transmission) enough. Delta has an Ro of 6 – 8, so a reduction of transmission of 20% only reduces an R0 from 6 to 5. The exponential curves won’t be much different.
Petrovsky says they use the same spike otherwise but have removed the furin cleavage site because the spike without it works better as a antigen. I wonder if without the furin cleavage site, the free-floating spikes may be less likely to get into some cells. No one asks though and Petrovsky doesn’t say.
I look forward to seeing the results. Though it’s hard to beat some antivirals, and the long term studies won’t be finished for years…
h/t Flok, Brenda Spence, Vicki, Clarence.t. and Bob Dinn, Analytik, El Gordo,
*Confusingly there appears to be a UN program called “Covax” which is not the same.
**Correction: Originally read “Flinders University”, but is Flinders Medical Centre. Apologies.
Covax-19 is made and owned by Vaxine.
Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash