Researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) in Australia have announced plans to commence a trial of a medication to protect immune-compromised people against existing Covid-19 Omicron variants.

In partnership with AstraZeneca, UniSC Clinical Trials will carry out the study for a possible new therapy to prevent Covid-19 in people who fail to mount a normal immune response to a vaccine or infection.

The partners will conduct the trial at the Sunshine Coast trials centre at Sippy Downs.

The trial’s principal investigator Dr Robert Scott said that up to three in ten of the population remain at severe and fatal disease risk despite launching effective vaccines that lowered the morbidity and mortality associated with the infection.

These people are at risk as they cannot mount an adequate immune response.

Scott said: “We have a lot of applications from people with compromised immune systems who are often disappointed when they are excluded from a trial due to their condition.

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“We’re excited to offer this trial to a group who are keen to advance medical research for immunocompromised people.”

Eligible subjects for the trial need to attend up to 12 visits at the Sunshine Coast clinic for nearly 15 months.

If they develop Covid-19 symptoms, extra visits may be required.

Clinical trials coordinator Lindley Mattiazzi said that the team is seeking applications from adults who are taking medicines that cause immune impairment.

People with a cancer diagnosis, or those who have a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or similar and are on immune-modulating therapy such as methotrexate, can also apply for the trial.