Mohammed Alsharifi

Mohammed Alsharifi

The University of Adelaide, Australia

Title: Human Rotavirus vaccine: A decade of experience vaccinating infants worldwide


Dr Alsharifi grew up in Babylon/Iraq and studied Veterinary Medicine at Baghdad University. He was increasingly interested in medical research and after coming to
Australia he studied Biomedical Science at Monash University. He then moved to the Australian National University to take up a PhD scholarship at The John Curtin
School of Medical Research, and investigated with Arno Müllbacher, Robert Blanden, and Mario Lobigs the immunobiology of an alphavirus infection. During his
early years in research he discovered a period of exhaustion in type-I interferon response following an acute viral infection, which may explain the clinically known
observation that virus-infected patients are at increased risk to a more sever secondary viral and/or bacterial infection. Following the completion of his PhD studies,
he investigated with Prof Müllbacher the possibility of using gamma-irradiated influenza virus as a universal flu vaccine. In 2008, he was awarded the Hanson
Fellowship to continue his research into the universal Flu vaccine and also to investigate the possibility of producing other viral vaccines using similar technique to
that used for influenza. His flu vaccine research has been featured in the Catalyst program on ABC and in many newspaper articles


Streptococcus pneumoniae and influenza are the world’s foremost bacterial and viral respiratory pathogens. We have previously described a gamma-irradiated influenza (γ-FLU) vaccine that provides cross-protective immunity against heterosubtypic infections. More recently, we reported a novel non-adjuvanted gamma-irradiated S. pneumoniae (γ-PN) vaccine that elicits serotype-independent protection. Considering the clinical synergism of both pathogens, combination of a serotype-independent pneumococcal vaccine with a broad-spectrum influenza vaccine to protect against both infections would have considerable clinical impact. In this study we co-immunised C57BL/6 mice intranasally with a mixture of γ-PN (whole inactivated cells) and γ-FLU (whole inactivated virions) and examined protective efficacy. Co-immunisation enhanced γ-PN vaccine efficacy against virulent pneumococcal challenge, which was dependent on CD4+ T cell responses. Furthermore, co-immunisation elicited significant protection against lethal influenza challenge, as well as against co-infection with both influenza and S. pneumoniae. This is the first report showing the synergistic effect of combining whole cell and whole virion vaccines to both S. pneumoniae and influenza as a single vaccine to protect against individual and co-infection, without compromising pathogen-specific immunity.