University of Melbourne’s response to COVID-19 - spotlight on the Doherty Institute

Researchers from the Doherty Institute are making important contributions in multiple fields to solve the global challenge of COVID-19.

PDI The Doherty Institute (encompassing Melbourne Health and University of Melbourne infection and immunity research groups) has been leading the research community in understanding this novel coronavirus following their successful isolation of SARS-CoV-2 from a patient, a worldwide first outside of China.

Key highlights include the mapping of immune responses from one of Australia’s first novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, led by Professor Katherine Kedzierska, showing the body’s ability to fight the virus and recover from the infection.

Doherty researchers have also been called on to assist Government agencies with COVID-19 modelling to inform public health policies and planning.

With a focus on resource-sharing and collaborative activities that are critical in a situation like the COVID-19 pandemic, the Doherty Institute has been supported by teams across the University, including BD&I and Advancement, to deliver against its four pillars of SARS-CoV -2 research: Diagnostics, Vaccines (active and passive), Antivirals and Public Health/Clinical. Activities include:

  • The development of a rapid single tube diagnostic assay for detection of SAR-CoV-2 and its rollout to public health laboratories around Australia in collaboration with an industry partner
  • The coordination with CSIRO and others to formalise assessment of new antiseptic and antiviral therapies being tested at PDI (in vitro) and AAHL (in vivo).
  • Formalising arrangements between institutions allowing patient samples to be analysed for immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 and developing novel diagnostic methods.

For more information on the University's response to tackling COVID-19 please click here.