COVID-19 research

Researchers at Monash Health are involved in a wide variety of research studies to better understand COVID-19 and provide better treatment to the community.

Some of the projects, which are either led by Monash Health researchers, or are part of major international collaborations, include:

Evaluation of saliva as a specimen for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2

Researchers: Maryza Graham, Tony Korman, Rhonda Stuart and Michelle Francis

Department: Infectious Diseases

Research type: Lab based

Study population: COVID-19 fever clinic outpatients

Expected outcome: Determine the sensitivity of saliva as a specimen for diagnosis of COVID-19

ACE2 inhibitors for COVID

Researchers: Yahya Shehabi and Wisam Al-Bassam

Department: Intensive Care

Collaborators: Monash University and University of Melbourne

Research type: Clinical trial – drugs or therapies

Study population: Patients with severe COVID-19 infection

Expected outcome: Evaluation of new possible treatments for COVID-19

Age Matters? Correlation of COVID-19, Bacterial, Viral and/or Fungal Infection Severity with Immune Responses in Adults and Children

A simple question motivates our research program: Why is COVID-19 less severe in children than in adults? In our interdisciplinary study, a team of clinician-scientists, immunologists and microbiologists will determine the underlying pathophysiological pathways influencing COVID-19 severity in the context of age and gender, with a particular focus on the microbiome. As its outcome, the program will advance knowledge on the mechanisms that drive COVID-19, thus identifying prognostic biomarkers and promising therapeutic strategies to guide the implementation of novel immune therapies that will prevent COVID-19’s severe morbidity and mortality.

Researchers: Prof Marcel Nold (Hudson, Monash Health, Monash University), Dr Sam Forster (Hudson), Dr Felix Oberender (Monash Health), A/Prof Claudia Nold (Hudson), Prof Paul Hertzog (Hudson), Prof Jim Buttery (Monash Health), Prof Phil Bardin (Monash Health), Dr Kirsten Palmer (Hudson, Monash Health), A/Prof David Armstrong (Monash Health), Prof Jose Polo (Monash University) and Dr Samar Ojaimi (Monash Health).

Departments: Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Respiratory and Sleep, Paediatrics, Infection and Immunity, Monash University

Collaborators: Monash Health, Monash University, School for Clinical Sciences, Rockefeller University

Research type: Clinical, lab based, immunology, observation, genomic

Study population: Adult and paediatric COVID + patients

Expected outcome: Understanding why children get less severe disease and why some recover while others get seriously ill

Fibrinolytic Response in COVID-19

Researchers: Ian Woolley, Sarah Luu (student), Zoe McQuilten, Ashwini Bennett, Sanjeev Chunilal, Erica Malan, Andrew Wallace

Departments: Haematology

Collaborators: Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD)

Research type: Lab based

Study population: COVID + patients

Expected outcome: Understanding changes in plasminogen consumption in COVID patients

Longitudinal immunology of COVID-19 infection

Researchers: Ben Rogers

Department: Infectious Diseases

Collaborators: Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI)

Research type: Clinical, Lab based

Study population: 3 populations planned: COVID + patients; healthcare workers; patients receiving investigational therapies

Expected outcome: Detailed long-term profile of immunological response through COVID-19 infection

Characterising the immune response to SARS-COV2 during infection and recovery

Researchers: Gabriela Khoury, Stephen Turner, Ben Rogers, Samar Ojaimi, Tony Korman, Nicole LaGruta, Mariapia Degli-Esposti, Anthony Purcell, Jamie Rossjohn

Department: Infectious Diseases, University, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Department of Microbiology

Collaborators: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University

Research type: Clinical, lab based, immunology, observation, database studies, genomic

Study population: Adult COVID-19 + patients; high risk and/or exposed healthcare workers

Expected outcome: Understanding of how pre-infection immune status and post-infection immune response change disease progression and health outcomes in patients and at risk healthcare workers

Australasian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT)

Researchers: Marie Backstrom, Ben Rogers

Department: Infectious Diseases

Collaborators: Melbourne University, Doherty Institute

Research type: Clinical trial – drugs or therapies                

Study population: Adult COVID-19 patients

Expected outcome: Assessing the effectiveness and safety of two existing drugs in patients hospitalised with COVID-19

BCG vaccination to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Australian healthcare workers following Coronavirus Exposure (BRACE) Trial

Researchers: Jessica O’Bryan, Tony Korman, Rhonda Stuart, Grant Jenkin, Ben Rogers

Department: Infectious Diseases

Collaborators: Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Research type: Clinical Trial – drugs or therapies

Study population: Health Care Workers

Expected outcome: investigate whether the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination protects against COVID-19 or reduces the severity of symptoms of COVID-19 in healthcare workers

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