4 Jun 2020

Congratulations to Merlin Thomas on MRFF grant

Central Clinical School's Professor Merlin Thomas has been
awarded funding for investigating inhaled treatments for COVID-19
Four Monash University projects investigating treatments for COVID-19, including a potential inhaled treatment, have been awarded funding by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Federal Health Minister, The Honourable Greg Hunt, announced more than $1.3 million for four Monash research projects as part of a $66 million fund to contribute to global efforts to control and eliminate the virus. The MRFF’s Coronavirus Research Response is part of the Australian Government’s $8 billion Coronavirus (COVID-19) National Health Plan. See all four at www.monash.edu/news/articles/more-than-$1.3-million-awarded-for-new-covid-19-research-at-monash

Central Clinical School's Professor Merlin Thomas has been awarded funding for investigating inhaled treatments for COVID-19.

A collaborative research project between Monash and Murdoch Universities is investigating a potential inhaled treatment for COVID-19 that has a different mechanism than other treatments and vaccines in development.

COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus that uses the cell-surface protein, Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2), to access and infect cells of the lung. Most vaccines and other potential treatments focus on blocking the coronavirus.

Prof Merlin Thomas
Professor Thomas and team have taken a different approach, by targeting ACE2. They have discovered a novel way to change ACE2 in order to prevent the coronavirus using it to get into cells. Moreover, they can now do this without losing the good things that ACE2 does in the lung.

“With this support from the MRFF, over the next few months, we will further optimise this inhaled treatment. We believe that in early-stage COVID-19, transient, selective and safe modulation of ACE2 using an inhaler will reduce the coronavirus burden and keep people from getting sick enough to end up in hospital, on a ventilator or die. Thanks to the MRFF for their support and the hard work of the research team at Monash Central Clinical School and Murdoch University (WA) at this challenging time,” said Professor Thomas.

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