REVOLUTIONARY vaccination technology to prevent and treat genital herpes has reached the next step in clinical trials, with Professor Ian Frazer leading the charge.
The new technology aims to be a prevention and cure for the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-2) and if successful, could lead to effective vaccinations or remedies for currently incurable viruses like HIV-AIDS or hepatitis C.
Professor Ian Frazer, whose work in linking the human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer to create a world-first vaccine earned him Australian of the Year in 2006, said if the vaccine was successful it would "revolutionise the vaccine field".
"This is a technology which, if it works for one virus, it's going to be very helpful for a whole range of other infections that we don't yet have vaccines for at the moment," he said.
"It's a combination of prevention and then a sort of treatment approach. Maybe what's required for the viruses that we don't really have good vaccines for at the moment such as HIV aids virus, hepatitis C virus."
There are two strains of herpes, with HSV-1 most commonly associated with cold sores and HSV-2 - the virus targeted by this newest vaccine - most commonly associated with genital herpes.
Extensive testing at the Translational Research Institute for the Coridon vaccine has already showed promising results in animals but Professor Frazer said the next step to work with humans would ensure the vaccine was safe.
"There have been many trials of herpes vaccines over the last 50 years and we don't have one that works yet - that's why we're using what I believe is a revolutionary approach for the vaccine. To date, the focus has been on getting vaccines that will produce antibody that will protect you and that does not seem to be enough."
He said the vaccine had passed all tests so far and there was "no doubt" it would be safe, hoping the jab could be ready in six years.
"My main job is to make sure that we do the right trials to find out if the product will work as quickly and effectively as possible," he said.
"If it does work we don't want to waste any time (getting it out) and if it doesn't work we want to know so that we can move forward and find a better way."
People have a less than 1 in 10,000 chance of developing a reaction to vaccines.
"It is obviously everyone's decision if they get vaccinated or not but to decide not to vaccinate a child is to put them at an unnecessary risk for no benefit because the vaccinations we have at the moment are extraordinarily safe," Prof Frazer said.
"To not to vaccinate someone is to ignore the fact that while you think they will not come into contact with an infection; unfortunately viruses don't think like that."
Prof Frazer, who worked with a team of six since 2008 on the technology and vaccine, said Queensland was well-placed to lead the world in clinical research.
"We want to compete on a global stage and that's a benefit for the community but all the medical research that we do isn't to make Queensland great, it's to make our community healthy."
He encouraged young Queenslanders to get involved in research.
"Follow your dream, if you like science and want to do something useful for it, go for it. Secondly, never think you're not good enough."
Researchers are now seeking healthy male and female volunteers between 18 to 45 years old to be involved. Contact recruiters Q-Pharm on 1300 774 276 or email firstname.lastname@example.org