QLD and German researchers hope to develop new flu treatment

Published: 12 October 2017


Scientists from Griffith University are joining forces with German research institutes in the fight against the deadly flu virus.

Leading experts from the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM) have partnered with the Hannover Medical School (MHH) and Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics on the Gold Coast. 

The project has been dubbed ‘iCAIR – Fraunhofer International Consortium for Anti-Infective Research’. 

Australia is coming out of one of the worst flu seasons on record, and the country’s health care systems have struggled to cope. 

In response, this latest collaboration aims to develop a new drug that will tackle respiratory viruses including influenza virus and respiratory infection-causing bacteria and fungi. 

Fraunhofer Institute have developed advanced technology, which they are bringing to Australia to advance our anti-infective drug and vaccine programs.

Professor Mark von Itzstein, Director of the Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics said, “At the moment we do have two very useful drugs that are on the market for influenza… both are very useful drugs. 

“However, you need to get those drugs very early-on – within 48 hours of getting the infection… [This means people] need to get to their GP quickly to get any benefit at all.”

Professor Reimund Neugebauer, president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, said, “because bacteria keep developing new resistance to antibiotics there is a desperate need for new medications.

“We urgently need to develop new drugs and find new ways to transfer them from research into clinical trials, and that is why Fraunhofer will be redoubling its efforts in this area.”

The team is confident of a breakthrough, but it will be a few years before tests begin on humans.

Professor Itzstein said, “We hope that maybe within 5-10 years we may be advancing into human clinical trials.”