Queensland COVID-19 research

This page of Queensland’s research related to the COVID-19 pandemic is compiled from information provided by Queensland universities and research institutes.

While many of our researchers are working on potential vaccines, treatments and other medical interventions, other researchers are applying their expertise to other impacts of the pandemic upon our economy and other aspects of society. The data includes immediate research activity, recent relevant work, proposed research (subject to available funds) and other responses using the resources and expertise of our research organisations.

Listing all of 149 responses.

  • A systematic review and meta-analysis comparing studies of seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infections with cumulative and imputed COVID-19 cases. October 2021

    The level of a pathogen in the blood serum across a human population is termed seroprevalence. Accurate background estimates of the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in different populations could clarify the extent to which current testing strategies are identifying all active infection, and hence the true magnitude and spread of the infection. This study, that examined over 2000 studies, has shown SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence is well below herd immunity in all countries studied. The estimated number of infections, however, were much greater than the number of reported cases and deaths in almost all locations. The majority of seropositive people reported prior COVID-like symptoms, suggesting that undertesting of symptomatic people may be causing a substantial under-ascertainment of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Systematic assessment of 17-country data shows SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence is mostly less than 10% - levels well below herd immunity. High symptom rates in seropositive cases suggest undertesting of symptomatic people and could explain gaps between seroprevalence rates and reported cases. The estimated number of infections for the majority of the studies ranged from 2-717 times greater than the number of reported cases in that region and up to 13 times greater than the cases imputed from the number of reported deaths.

    #Epidemiology #Systematic review #Meta-analysis

    Centre

    Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare
    Bond University

    Contact details
    Dr Oyungerel Byambasuren
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    obyambas@bond.edu.au
    +617 5595 5518
    Collaborations
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis that estimated the extent of asymptomatic COVID-19 and its potential for community transmission September 2021

    Knowing the prevalence of true asymptomatic coronavirus disease cases is critical for designing mitigation measures against the pandemic. This study aimed to synthesize all available research on asymptomatic cases and transmission rates. By screening over 2000 articles, the researchers found that their one-in-six estimate of the prevalence of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and asymptomatic transmission rates is lower than those of many highly publicized studies but still sufficient to warrant policy attention. Further robust epidemiological evidence is urgently needed, including in subpopulations such as children, to better understand how asymptomatic cases contribute to the pandemic.

    #Epidemiology #Systematic review #Meta-analysis

    Centre

    Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare
    Bond University

    Contact details
    Dr Oyungerel Byambasuren
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    obyambas@bond.edu.au
    +617 5595 5518
    Collaborations
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of the downsides of face masks and possible mitigation strategies September 2021

    The Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis study to identify, appraise and synthesise studies evaluating the downsides of wearing face masks in any setting. The study included review of randomised controlled trials and observational studies comparing face mask use to any active intervention or to control. The largest number of studies reported on the discomfort and irritation outcome; fewest reported on the misuse of masks, and none reported on mask contamination or risk compensation behaviour. The study conculded that there is insufficient data to quantify all of the adverse effects that might reduce the acceptability, adherence and effectiveness of face masks. New research on face masks should assess and report the harms and downsides. Urgent research is also needed on methods and designs to mitigate the downsides of face mask wearing, particularly the assessment of possible alternatives.

    #PPE

    Centre

    Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare
    Bond University

    Contact details
    Dr Mina Bakhit
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    mbakhit@bond.edu.au
    +617 5595 1333
    Collaborations
  • A systematic review of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare utilisation. September 2021

    This systematic review by the Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare sought to determine the extent and nature of changes in utilisation of healthcare services during COVID-19 pandemic by comparing utilisation of services during the pandemic to at least one comparable period in prior years. Services included visits, admissions, diagnostics, and therapeutics. The review included 81 studies across 20 countries that reported on over 11 million services pre-pandemic and 6.9 million services during pandemic. The review concluded that healthcare utilisation decreased by about a third during the pandemic, with considerable variation, and with greater reductions among people with less severe illness. While addressing unmet need remains a priority, studies of health impacts of reductions may help health-systems prioritise higher-value care in the post-pandemic recovery.

    #Treatment #Diagnostics

    Centre

    Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare
    Bond University

    Contact details
    Asst Prof Ray Moynihan
    Asst Prof
    raymoynihan@bond.edu.au
    +617 5595 4787
    Collaborations
  • Mortality salience and message framing for health-related compliance behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic September 2021

    This research led by Ass Prof Rajat Roy from Bond Business School used the Terror Management Health Model (TMHM) to predict health-related compliance behaviours of people in a pandemic using message framing. Using laboratory and field experiments, the research team tested for the main effects of positive/negative message frames and their interactive effect with mortality salience on adherence to health-related compliance behaviours. Consumers whose decisions are motivated by their need to avoid death (and improve their well-being), are found to be more receptive to negatively framed messages. In the wake of the on-going COVID 19 pandemic that has claimed over one million lives, this study provides direction to health-related messages. This study will help in reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus through effective communication messages directed to motivate consumers towards health behaviours.

    #Business and economics

    Centre

    Bond Business School
    Bond University

    Contact details
    Dr. Rajat Roy
    Associate Professor
    rroy@bond.edu.au
    +614 2381 8429
    Collaborations
    • Collaborators:
    • Dr Preetha Menon, FLAME University, India
    • Dr Giridhar Ramachandran, XLRI, India
    • Ms Rhea Roy, Curtin University, Perth
  • A national online survey examining the beliefs, misconceptions and sources of information of Australians on the COVID-19 pandemic September 2021

    Public cooperation to practise preventive health behaviours is essential to manage the transmission of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. This study investigated the beliefs about COVID-19 diagnosis, transmission and prevention of Australians that have the potential to impact the uptake of recommended public health strategies. This national online survey targeted a resentative sample of 1500 Australian adults to identify the proportion of participants with correct/incorrect knowledge of COVID-19 preventive behaviours and reasons for any misconceptions. Most participants correctly identified washing your hands regularly with soap and water and staying at least 1.5m away from others could help prevent COVID-19. Over 40% incorrectly considered wearing gloves outside of the home would prevent them from contracting COVID-19. Views about face masks were divided. Only 66% of participants correctly identified that regular use of antibiotics would NOT prevent COVID-19. Most participants (90%) identified fever, fatigue and cough as indicators of COVID-19. However, of concern, 42% of participants incorrectly thought that being unable to hold your breath for 10 seconds without coughing was an indicator of having the virus. The most frequently reported sources of COVID-19 information were commercial television channels (56%), the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (43%) and the Australian Government COVID-19 information app (31%). The report concluded that public messaging about hand hygiene and physical distancing to prevent transmission appears to have been effective. However, there are clear, identified barriers for many individuals that have the potential to impede uptake or maintenance of these behaviours in the long term. The researcher advocated the need to develop public health messages that harness these barriers to improve future cooperation. Ensuring adherence to these interventions is critical.

    #Social sciences #Public health #Community perceptions

    Centre

    Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare
    Bond University

    Contact details
    Ass Prof Rae Thomas
    Associate Professor
    rthomas@bond.edu.au
    +617 5595 5521
    Collaborations
  • A national online survey on the concerns and misconceptions about the Australian Government's COVIDSafe App September 2021

    Timely and effective contact tracing is an essential public health role to curb the transmission of COVID-19. App-based contact tracing has the potential to optimise the resources of overstretched public health departments. However, it's efficiency is dependent on wide-spread adoption. Using a national online survey resercher from the Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare targeted a representative sample of 1500 Australians the study sought to identify the proportion of people who had downloaded the Australian Government COVIDSafe app and examine the reasons why some did not. The survey showed that 37% had downloaded the COVIDSafe app, 19% intended to, 28% refused, and 16% were undecided. Equally proportioned reasons for not downloading the app included privacy (25%) and technical concerns (24%). Other reasons included a belief that social distancing was sufficient and the app is unnecessary (16%), distrust in the Government (11%), and apathy (11%). In addition, COVIDSafe knowledge varied, with confusion about its purpose and capabilities. The study concluded that for the COVIDSafe app to be accepted by the public and used correctly, public health messages need to address the concerns of its citizens, specifically privacy, data storage, and technical capabilities. Understanding the specific barriers preventing the uptake of tracing apps provides the opportunity to design targeted communication strategies aimed at strengthening public health initiatives such as download and correct use.

    #Social sciences #Public health #Community perceptions

    Centre

    Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare
    Bond University

    Contact details
    Ass Prof Rae Thomas
    Associate Professor
    rthomas@bond.edu.au
    +617 5595 5521
    Collaborations
  • A systematic review of soap versus sanitiser for preventing the transmission of acute respiratory infections September 2021

    Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic researchers from the Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare undertook a systematic review of randomised trials to compare the effectiveness of hand hygiene using alcohol-based hand sanitiser to soap and water for preventing the transmission of acute respiratory infections, and assess the relationship between the dose of hand hygiene and the number of acute respiratory infections, influenza-like illness, or influenza events. The review concluded that dequately performed hand hygiene, with either soap or sanitiser, reduces the risk of acute respiratory infections virus transmission, however direct and indirect evidence suggest sanitiser might be more effective in practice.

    #Treatment #Prevention #PPE #Management

    Centre

    Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare
    Bond University

    Contact details
    Prof Tammy Hoffmann
    Epidemiologist
    thoffmann@bond.edu.au
    +617 5595 5522
    Collaborations
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of physical interventions (face masks, eye protection and person distancing) to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. September 2021

    This systematic Cochrane Review examined the effectiveness of eye protection, face masks, or person distancing on interrupting or reducing the spread of respiratory viruses. This review included a meta-analysis of observational studies during the SARS outbreak of 2003. The study led by the University of Oxford involving seven researchers from Bond Univesity examined randomised and cluster-randomised trials of people of any age, testing the use of eye protection, face masks, or person distancing against standard practice, or a similar physical barrier. Outcomes included any acute respiratory illness and its related consequences. The preprint, still to be peer-reviewed report concluded: Most included trials had poor design, reporting and sparse events. There was insufficient evidence to provide a recommendation on the use of facial barriers without other measures. The researchers found insufficient evidence for a difference between surgical masks and N95 respirators and limited evidence to support effectiveness of quarantine. Based on observational evidence from the previous SARS epidemic included in the previous version of their Cochrane review the researchers recommend the use of masks combined with other measures.

    #Treatment #Prevention

    Centre

    Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare
    Bond University

    Contact details
    A/Prof Mark Jones
    Biostatistician
    majones@bond.edu.au
    +61 7 5595 5523
    Collaborations
    Collaborator: Indian Institute of Science (IISc)
  • Identifying drug combinations to prevent COVID-19 from entering host cells September 2021

    SARS-CoV-2 entry into cells requires the activation of spike proteins on the virus surface by one of two classes of host proteases (enzymes that speed up the breakdown of proteins): the serine protease (TMPRSS2) and cysteine proteases (Cathepsin B/L). Drugs targeting these protease pathways are in clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment. Ideally, you need to block both proteases at once. Researchers made a computational model of SARS-CoV-2 entry via the two pathways and then simulated blocking each pathway, as well as both pathways at once, to see what effect this would have on viral entry. Targeting both the pathways simultaneously had an unexpected, but welcome, synergistic effect whereby their combined effect is more than their individual effects.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Queensland Brain Institute
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Pranesh Padmanabhan
    Research Fellow
    p.padmanabhan@uq.edu.au
    +617 3346 6341
    Collaborations
  • Extending the Co-SPACE Study - how families are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic and what parents can do to help support their children’s mental health. September 2021

    The UK Co-SPACE and its partner studies in Ireland, Denmark, Iran, USA and Australia will tell us how families are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what parents can do to help support their children’s mental health. It is hoped this will help us to understand the needs of families at this time. This Griffith University extension of the “Co-SPACE study: Supporting Parents, Adolescents and Children during Epidemics” examines obsessive-compulsive and related symptoms in kids and how they may be affected by COVID-19 to better support young people, their parents and family.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    School of Applied Psychology
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Ass Prof Lara Farrell
    Lead researcher
    l.farrell@griffith.edu.au
    +61 (0)7 5678 8224
    Collaborations
  • Understanding the effectiveness of government community engagement strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic September 2021

    Ms Maggie Muurmans, a PhD candidate with the Griffith Coastal and Marine Research Centre, is developing a working model for community engagement effectiveness. By identifying the rate and choice of engagement strategies (i.e. participation levels, activities or pathways) one could predict or formulate the expected level of effectiveness. This research aims to assist understanding the effectiveness of government community engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic and identify its reception at grass root level and how the community could be more responsive depending on a different strategy. This will help towards future community engagement strategies led by the government particularly during emergency situations.

    #Social sciences

    Centre

    Griffith Coastal and Marine Research Centre
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Ms Maggie Muurmans
    Manager, Coastal Community Engagement Program
    m.muurmans@griffith.edu.au
    +61 7 5552 8823
    Collaborations
  • How OHS professionals can more effectively contribute during times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic September 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges for workers, whether they remain at the frontline, or working from home. Dr Tristan Casey from Griffith University’s Safety Science Innovation Lab investigated the experiences of OHS professionals, emerging safety risks and proactive safety strategies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The research included longitudinal interviews with 25 Australian OHS professionals from 12 different industries.

    The recommendations from this research to better support and empower OHS professionals during times of crisis and optimise success are to: ensure adequate management support for OHS professionals; increase autonomy and decisional latitude for OHS professionals; involve OHS professionals in decision making; and manage job insecurity by providing as much reassurance as possible.

    #Business and economics

    Centre

    Safety Science Innovation Lab
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Dr Tristan Casey
    Adjunct Senior Research Fellow
    tristan.casey@griffith.edu.au
    +617 3735 5147
    Collaborations
    Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Improving Advanced Life Support training for frontline healthcare workers under novel conditions. September 2021

    Treating patients with a highly infectious disease, such as COVID-19, requires effective procedures to prevent in-hospital transmission and deliver critical care. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Yoriko Kikkawa from the Griffith Institute for Educational Research will deliver a new simulator and online training program that integrates infection control protocols into Advanced Life Support. This program will protect frontline workers from contracting infectious diseases and improve pandemic readiness for Queensland healthcare workers.

    #Social sciences #Education

    Centre

    Griffith Institute for Educational Research
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Dr Yoriko Kikkawa
    Research Fellow
    y.kikkawa@griffith.edu.au
    +617 3735 3472
    Collaborations
    • Allysta Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
    • Arrevus, Inc.
    • Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
    • Princess Alexandra Hospital ICU
    • Translational Research Institute
  • Researchers develop low-cost ventilator to help countries still fighting COVID-19 using a system to automate the ambu bag September 2021

    A team led by Professor Yongsheng Gao at GU have created the Ventil-8, a device that turns ambu bags, the self-inflating hand pump bag used in resuscitation into automated ventilators. "This replacement ventilator needed to be low-cost and built quickly and relatively easily anywhere in the world. A key design requirement was that all its components have to be available locally and accessible within one day, and in sufficient quantities to create thousands. "Professor Gao said. The team settled on a prototype driven by an easily available car windscreen wiper motor that cost just AUS $600. "The makeshift ventilator meets the doctors’ needs, with adjustable volume and speed or breaths per minute and three different Inspiratory/Expiratory (I/E) ratios," said Dr Mousa Hadipour, a research fellow at GU's Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Prof Yongsheng Gao
    Director
    yongsheng.gao@griffith.edu.au
    +61 (0)7 3735 3652
    Collaborations
    • The Smith Family
    • Infoxchange
    • yourtown
    • LEEP NGO
    • Good Things Foundation
  • Placebo-controlled randomized Clinical Trial of Perispinal Etanercept (Enbrel) in Australian patients affected by stroke September 2021

    There is a 37% increase of the incidence of stroke in those infected by COVID-19. The underlying pathology of COVID-19 is systemic inflammation and is closely related to post-stroke pathology. Etanercept (Enbrel) has been used for many years to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. A recent trial led by Associate Professor Stephen Ralph from GU's Menzies Health Institute Queensland showed a significant decrease in post-stroke pain levels and reduced muscle spasticity experienced by people affected by stroke. Subject to funding and approvals this treatment will be trialled in Australian COVID-19 patients affected by stroke.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ)

    • Griffith University
    • University of Southern Queensland
    Contact details
    Ass Prof Stephen Ralph
    Co-investigator
    s.ralph@griffith.edu.au
    +61 (0)7 5552 8583
  • Queensland Family Cohort Study investigates impacts of COVID-19 on Queensland babies September 2021

    A Queensland-first trial that will assess the impacts of COVID-19 on expectant parents and their unborn babies is being carried out at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals. Augmenting the current Queensland Family Cohort Study, the Mater Research research team are recruiting 300 families who have endured the stress brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, while being pregnant. Mater Research Professor Vicki Clifton said it was important to capture data from both expectant mothers and fathers during this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic to see what the impacts of the crisis were on families, the pregnancy and their babies as they developed. “We know from previous research undertaken on the impacts of the 2011 Queensland floods that you don’t need to be directly affected by a crisis to have increased stress hormones in your system and we know that this affects the placenta and there is a change in the developmental profiles of the baby." “It’s important that while we have, and continue to experience a pandemic, that we are evaluating the impacts on these families and also how this will influence their babies’ development up until they are school age,” Professor Clifton said. The Queensland Family Cohort Study pilot began in 2018 with the aim to address disease at its core and determine how a baby’s health and exposure in early life influences the onset of disease in the future.

    #Diagnostics #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Mater Research

    Contact details
    Prof Vicki Clifton
    Professorial Fellow
    vicki.clifton@mater.uq.edu.au
    +617 422 939 723
    Collaborations
    Co-rearcher: Professor Stephen Rose, UQ Centre for Clinical Research (Honorary Principal Research Fellow)
  • Indoor precautions essential to stem airborne COVID-19 September 2021

    In April 2020, researchers from the QUT International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health (ILAQH) urged health authorities to immediately recognise the role of airborne transmission of COVID-19 virus droplets from an infected person beyond 1.5m in order to stem the disease’s spread. The key reasons are: Airborne transmission of COVID-19 must be taken into account; Likely COVID-19 spread to cruise ship passengers through ventilation system even when passengers confined to their cabins; Viable airborne viruses can travel beyond 1.5m on airflow when exhaled by an infected person; and Virus air transmission research must begin now not retrospectively. World-leading air quality and health expert QUT Dist Prof. Lidia Morawska and Prof. Junji Cao from Chinese Academy of Sciences in an article in Environment International called on health bodies to initiate research into the airborne transmission of COVID-19 as it is happening. Prof. Morawska, said “National health bodies responsible for controlling the pandemic are hampered by not acknowledging the research evidence of airborne transmission of viable virus droplets, that was conducted after the SARS 2003 outbreak”(April 2020). Prof. Morawska has also led a call by 239 scientists from 32 countries to recognise and mitigate airborne transmission of COVID-19. In Septemer 2021 Prof. Morawska was named by the Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health (ILAQH)
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Prof Lidia Morawska
    Director
    l.morawska@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 2616
    Collaborations
    • 3D Systems
    • Metro North Hospital and Health Service
    • CSIRO
    • Edale Capital
  • Preventing the respiratory failure causing COVID-19 mortality, potent new drugs targeting hyperinflammation. September 2021

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Lisa Philp
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    lisa.philp@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3443 7283
    Collaborations
  • Disadvantages of digital divide highlighted by COVID-19 pandemic September 2021

    Not all people have an equal experience in accessing to digital platforms and technologies in Australia. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the digital divide that exists in Australia, especially with the temporary closure of schools and universities forcing student that are able to switch to online learning. An Australian Research Council funding project - 'Advancing digital inclusion in low income Australian families', led by QUT researchers from the Digital Media Research Centre, will focus on families in six diverse communities from Far North Queensland to Tasmania, in urban, regional and rural locations. Digital participation has been shown to substantially increase opportunities for, and pathways to, civic engagement, financial stability and wellbeing. The aims to address the growing gap experienced by as many as three million Australians living below the poverty line and will focus on the digital inclusion implications of children's home and school learning experiences, school leavers' transitions into work, and parenting in digital times.

    #Social sciences #Education

    Centre

    Digital Media Research Centre
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Prof Michael Dezuanni
    Program Leader, Digital Media Research Centre
    m.dezuanni@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 5978 
    Collaborations
  • Rapid response medical manufacturing. September 2021

    The goal of the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Naomi Paxton from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation is to develop novel 3D printed masks using local manufacturing to increase supplies in Queensland hospitals, whilst also engaging with community 3D printing labs to ensure the safe production of personal protective equipment and other medical products during crisis responses.

    #PPE

    Centre

    Centre for Biomedical Technologies
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Naomi Paxton
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    n.paxton@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 6475
    Collaborations
  • Statistical modelling to support clinical decision making for critically ill COVID-19 patients. September 2021

    Many patients hospitalised with COVID-19 require admission to intensive care. Currently, critical care specialists are faced with complex decisions about which treatments work best for different patients, in particular the use of respiratory and life support. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Nicole White with QUT's Centre for Healthcare Transformation will develop sophisticated statistical models to assist clinicians with these decisions to improve patient outcomes and optimise the use of healthcare resources. The first outcome from this study a comprehensive appraisal of respiratory system static compliance in mechanical ventilation COVID-19 patients from a large international observational study characterised trends in key clinical variables associated with respiratory function in COVID-19 patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation. Results suggest that poor respiratory function at the start of mechanical ventilation is associated with mortality in patients with COVID-19.

    #Data Science

    Centre

    Centre for Healthcare Transformation
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Nicole White
    Research Fellow
    nm.white@qut.edu.au
    +617 3138 6228
    Collaborations
    Dr Xaiowen Hu – QUT Business School
  • Australian researchers trace sewage for early warning of COVID-19 spread September 2021

    Researchers from the University of Queensland and CSIRO have demonstrated the first step towards an early warning surveillance system to track the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community. The researchers have found RNA fragment of SARS-CoV2, the virus which leads to the disease COVID-19, in wastewater samples from two wastewater treatment plants in South East Queensland. The RNA fragments of SARS-CoV2 would have been shed in the wastewater stream by COVID-19 infected people. The research builds on techniques for testing wastewater for illicit drugs and other chemicals and prior on wastewater analysis for emerging recombinant noroviruses by researchers in the Netherlands and the United States of America.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof Kevin Thomas
    Centre Director
    kevin.thomas@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 344 32443
    Collaborations
    • Research partners:
    • University of Queensland
    • Queensland University of Technology
    • Griffith University
  • A scalable virus trap for the COVID-19 virus September 2021

    A prototype for a rapid test for COVID-19 that could deliver results in 5-15 minutes is being developed that could potentially identify COVID-19 silent spreaders within the community. This report proposes a specific and highly sensitive SARS-CoV-2 detection method based on nanoyeast single-chain-variable fragment. The test uses a simple colour change from clear to blue liquid to indicate a positive test. The simplicity of the test and suitability for mass manufacture within Australia could make it suitable for a major step-change in mass population screening.

    NEW INFORMATION: The system can also be readily programmed for any pathogen, or future outbreak.

    #Diagnostics

    Centre

    Centre for Clinical Research
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof Matt Trau
    Senior Group Leader
    m.trau@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 334 64173
    Collaborations
    Mater Education
  • CoViBac: Host response and secondary pneumonia in COVID-19. September 2021

    Secondary infections and immune dysregulation represent life threatening yet poorly understood COVID-19 complications. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship joint project (the CoViBac study) led by Dr Olusola Olagoke from the GeneCology Research Centre with A/Prof Erin Price and colleagues at the Pathogen-Omics lab at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute, will use cutting-edge next-generation (dual RNA metatranscriptomic) sequencing technology alongside rapid diagnostics to better understand the gene expression in the co-pathogens (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) and human hosts and the immune responses that drive COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. This information is essential to devising better diagnostics and treatment strategies for people with COVID-19, and for preventing progression to severe disease.

    #Diagnostics

    Centre

    GeneCology Research Centre and Sunshine Coast Health Institute
    University of the Sunshine Coast

    Contact details
    Dr Olusola Olagoke
    Vaccine Research Fellow
    oolagoke@usc.edu.au
    +61 7 5456 5568
  • Working from home during the pandemic: from resistance to revolution August 2021

    In a survey of Australian public servants on experiences of working from home during a COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, CQUniversity work and employment researcher, A/Prof Linda Colley and collaborators, have found that working from home can be beneficial for individuals, families and organisations. According to A/Prof Colley, the survey highlighted a significant shift in managers mindsets with dramatic reductions in resistance to working from home. “ This is a major finding and indicates a revolution in the way managers think about working from home - in comparison to our 2018 research that found extensive managerial resistance across four state public services.”

    #Social sciences #Humanities

    Centre

    School of Business and Law
    CQUniversity

    Contact details
    a/Professor Linda Colley
    Work and Employment Research Group Leader
    l.colley@cqu.edu.au
    +614 0888 2897
    Collaborations
  • The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce - Primary and Chronic Care Committee August 2021

    As clinicians work to provide the best possible care for Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working to keep them up-to-date with the latest evidence. Clinician researchers Prof Sarah Larkins, James Cook University and Dr Mark Morgan, Bond University co-chair the Taskforce Primary and Chronic Care Panel. This panel is synthesizing emerging evidence about best care for people with acute COVID-19 and longer term symptoms following COVID-19 infection. This is presented in clinical flowcharts and recommendations, to assist clinicians at the point of care.

    #Treatment #Epidemiology #Data Science

    Centre

    Anton Breinl Research Centre for Health Systems Strengthening
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Prof Sarah Larkins
    Director, Research Development, DTHM
    sarah.larkins@jcu.edu.au
    +614 0888 2639
    Collaborations
  • Development and translation of epigenetic drugs for infectious diseases including COVID-19 and also heart failure August 2021

    A team of QIMR Berghofer researchers lead by A/Prof James Hudson have discovered some of the ways COVID-19 damages the heart. By screening for drugs using human cardiac organoids they have identified a class of drugs that could potentially protect or reverse this cardiac injury. In severe cases of COVID-19, the immune system overreacts to the infection, releasing inflammatory molecules called cytokines into the bloodstream. This so-called ’cytokine storm’ can damage multiple organs, including the heart. Canadian company Resverlogix has used the QIMR Berghofer research findings as the basis for expanding its clinical trial of the drug, apabetalone, in COVID-19 patients. This project is one of several projects enabled by a $5 million funding injection, in 2020, from the Queensland Government.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

    Contact details
    Associate Professor James Hudson
    Group Leader
    james.hudson@qimrberghofer.edu.au
    +617 43225 8331
    Collaborations
  • Modelling COVID-19 in Queensland August 2021

    The strong second wave of COVID-19 in Melbourne and widespread outbreaks in Sydney show that Australia's COVID-19 response is in a critical phase. Clusters are likely to continue to appear until a vaccine is deployed, and even then there is uncertainty around vaccine efficacies, rollout times, and new variants. Various public health interventions are effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19, but for any given outbreak it is unknown what strategies optimally balance health and economic/societal impacts. This optimisation requires accurate predictions of the potential spread of COVID-19 in a location-specific manner, and predictions of the effects of various interventions (e.g. testing, contact tracing, mask use, physical distancing, vaccines). In partnership with COVID-19 modelling experts and using local demographic data from Queensland Health, we will use agent-based modelling to simulate COVID-19 outbreaks for the Queensland setting. We will test and optimise potential interventions, enabling rational informed decision making. This project is one of several projects enabled by a $5 million funding injection, in 2020, from the Queensland Government.

    #Modelling

    Centre

    QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

    Contact details
    A/Prof James Roberts
    Team Head
    james.roberts@qimrberghofer.edu.au
    +617 3845 3850
    Collaborations
    Community and Public Sector Union
  • Exploring the mental health impact of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic August 2021

    The aim of our project is to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic response on individuals and examine the associations with psychosocial factors, genetic vulnerability, and previous history of mental health disorders. We expect to identify risk and protective factors related to adaptation to the pandemic that can provide immediate feedback to policy makers and evidence to help design health campaigns and interventions in Australia. This project is one of several projects enabled by a $5 million funding injection, in 2020, from the Queensland Government.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

    Contact details
    A/Prof Lucia Colodro-conde
    Senior Research Officer
    lucia.colodroconde@qimrberghofer.edu.au
    +617 3845 3018
    Collaborations
  • Decoding the Epigenome in SARS-Cov-2: Novel Avenue for therapeutics for COVID-19 August 2021

    People infected with the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) who display no viral symptoms (asymptomatic) are capable of being highly contagious as the virus is shed from the upper respiratory tract at unusually high levels at this time. This represent a significant danger of spread of the virus. As the COVID-19 virus persists and is anticipated to cause further disease waves, there is an urgent need for new post-exposure preventative (prophylaxic) drugs or PEPs. Prof Sudha Rao and her team are developing the first-in-class PEP-based drugs and have identified re-purposed drugs in a targeted manner to combat the virus. These inhibitors prevent the virus for entering cells and replicating, thereby reducing the severity of infection and providing time for the person to mount appropriate anti-viral immune responses. They have harnessed their knowledge from drug development in the immuno-oncology field to help combat this pandemic. The team is seeking further funding to undertake critical primate studies to advance this novel class of PEPs to clinical trials.

    #Treatment #Prevention

    Centre

    Gene Regulation and Translational Medicine Laboratory
    QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

    Contact details
    Professor Sudha Rao
    Group Leader
    sudha.rao@qimrberghofer.edu.au
    +614 1141 5440
    Collaborations
  • The Impact of SARS-CoV-2 on the human blood-brain barrier. August 2021

    Neurological changes accompany at least 30% of COVID-19 cases (NeuroCOVID), however there remains little understanding of how this is related to viral infection, and its long-term consequences. The blood brain barrier (BBB) is a crucial link between the brain and the peripheral circulatory system, and evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 infection, or the subsequent inflammatory response, can potentially lead to BBB impairment with consequences involving neuroinvasion of virus, and neuroinfiltration of immune factors. However, there is little understanding of viral interaction with human BBB cell-types. In this project, are using our established human BBB model to determine how SARS-CoV-2 impacts the BBB, whether anti-viral or anti-inflammatory drugs can protect the BBB, and are establishing a screening assay to measure impact of COVID-19 drugs on the BBB, and drug penetrance to the brain for treatment of neurological impairment in COVID-19.

    #Neurological impairment

    Centre

    Cellular and Molecular Neurodegeneration Laboratory
    QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

    Contact details
    A/Prof Anthony White
    Principal Research Fellow
    tony.white@qimrberghofer.edu.au
    +614 1035 7010
    Collaborations
  • Harnessing Oxidised Cholesterols to Reverse Susceptibility to COVID-19 in Diabetes August 2021

    Diabetes increases susceptibility to and severity of bacterial and viral respiratory infections. A Mater Research group led by A/Prof Katharina Ronacher recently discovered that oxidised cholesterols play an important role in the immune response to tuberculosis in the lung. They are now investigating the role that oxidized cholesterols, so called oxysterols, play in the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 severity in presence and absence of diabetes. This study will significantly advance our knowledge in respiratory infection research by establishing the biological significance of oxidised cholesterols and the benefits of modulating oxysterol activity to improve respiratory infection outcomes.

    #Immunology

    Centre

    Mater Research Institute
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Associate Professor Katharina Ronacher
    Principal Research Fellow
    katharina.ronacher@mater.uq.edu.au
    +617 3443 7633
    Collaborations
  • Better statistical methods to discover host genetic factors in symptom response to SARS-CoV-2 infection August 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic has infected >5 million people worldwide. While the majority of infected individuals recover within a few weeks of infection, others develop severe forms, that in some cases prove fatal. To date, the causes of differences in symptom response are unknown. In this proposal, we seek to discover genetic factors that can contribute to explaining these differences. Our findings have the potential to inform the design and analysis of clinical trials for vaccines and treatments.

    #Diagnostics #Management #Treatment

    Centre

    Institute for Molecular Bioscience
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Loic Yengo Dimbou
    ARC DECRA Fellow
    l.yengo@imb.uq.edu.au
    +617 3346 2095
    Collaborations
  • The Immuno-Storm Chip for COVID-19 patients - An early warning for immune system over-reaction in cancer treatment and COVID-19 August 2021

    The team at the Centre for Personalised Nanomedicine, led by Prof Matt Trau, have developed a nanopillar chip to read molecular signatures in the blood, such as those left by immune cells. The latest data show that the majority of COVID-19 deaths seem to arise (very quickly) after a cytokine storm where the immune system of a patient over-responds to the infection, killing the patient. Deploying this technology, to detect these cytokine storms early, could save many lives by prioritising hospital treatment and resources to those patients in danger.

    #Diagnostics #Management #Treatment

    Centre

    Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Professor Matt Trau
    Senior Group Leader
    m.trau@uq.edu.au
    +617 3346 4173
    Collaborations
  • Griffith’s additive manufacturing expertise being used to help in supply of essential personal protective equipment April 2020

    Griffith Universty's expertise and 3D printers are being used to help manufacture essential protective equipment for frontline health workers across Australia. As part of a call-out by the state’s health authorities, hospital-grade designs were shared with volunteers with access to 3D printers. Griffith’s Advanced Design and Prototyping Technologies Institute (ADaPT) and Queensland College of Art (QCA) are producing face shields and other personal protective equipment (PPE) using 3D printers from a number of facilities and schools across the university to help maintain supplies during the COVID-19 crisis. ADaPT Manager Derek Smith said it was perfectly placed to respond. “ADaPT already works closely with the Gold Coast University Hospital on a range of projects, and we’ve been able to move fast to make PPE parts,” he said. “We’re leading the different disciplines across the university that are working on this project, from design and engineering to health.

    #PPE

    Centre

    Advanced Design and Prototyping Technologies Institute
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Mr Derek Smith
    Technical Manager
    derek.smith@griffith.edu.au
    +61 7567 80547 
    Collaborations
    • Metro North Hospital and Health Service
    • Queensland College of Art
  • Corona-anxiety: how to recognise warning signs in kids & adolescents April 2020

    What are the signs of anxiety in young people caused by the upheaval to their world from COVID-19. QUT researcher Dr Judith Howard, from QUT’s Faculty of Education, is a behaviour support specialist who is a national leader in trauma-aware education. She said the sudden changes to our way of life, and fears about health and money, could cause anxiety for children as well as adults. “Our children and young people need to know that the adults in their worlds remain their ‘safe havens’,” she said. “They need to know that parents, carers, teachers and others are there to listen to their fears, to respond honestly, to help them understand what is happening, and to know that none of what has been going on will last forever. It will come to an end one day. We also need to keep reminding ourselves of that!” Dr Howard said anxiety often showed itself in three different ways – ‘fight’, ‘flight’ and ‘freeze’ behavioural responses.”

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Faculty of Education, School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Judith Howard
    Associate Professor in Digital Communication
    ja.howard@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 3934
  • Creating out loud: Developing sustainable peer-mentoring to rebuild the arts post COVID-19. September 2021

    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Queensland’s arts sector employed 80,000+ people, around 75% of whom have lost employment due to restrictions on public gatherings. By developing and embedding a sustainable peer-mentoring program that fosters capacity, collaboration, resilience, and well-being, this Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Kate Power from UQ School of Business will help rebuild artistic and business practices, thus protecting Queensland’s significant cultural assets and enriching the lives of Queenslanders.

    #Business and economics #Creative industries

    Centre

    Business School
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Kate Power
    Lecturer in Management
    k.power@business.uq.edu.au
    +61 7 334 69989
    Collaborations
  • The impact of diabetes on the severity of COVID-19 August 2021

    In conjunction with Mater Medical Research at the Translational Research Institute, a team at the Univeristy of Queensland, led by Dr Kirsty Short is recruiting patients with and without diabetes who have been infected to determine whether all patients with diabetes are susceptible to severe COVID-19 or if there is a subset that is particularly susceptible. Funded by the Medical Research Future Fund, the researchers will also be investigating the long term immunity of patients to the virus and determining if this wanes faster in patients with diabetes.

    #Diagnostics

    Centre

    School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Kirsty Short
    Australian Research Fellow
    k.short@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 336 54226
    Collaborations
  • Change in outbreak epicentre and its impact on the importation risks of COVID-19 progression: A modelling study July 2021

    The outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) that was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China has now spread to every inhabitable continent, but now the attention has shifted from China to other epicentres. This study explored early assessment of the influence of spatial proximities and travel patterns from Italy on the further spread of SARS-CoV-2 worldwide. We showed that as the epicentre changes, the dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 spread change to reflect spatial proximities.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Public Health and Tropical Medicine - Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Dr Oyelola Adegboye
    Lecturer
    oyelola.adegboye@jcu.edu.au
    +61 7 4781 5707
    Collaborations
    • Co-researchers:
    • Dr Adeshina Adekunle, AITHM
    • Dr Anton Pak, AITHM
    • Ezra Gayawanc, University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
    • Denis HY. Leung, Singapore Management University, Singapore
    • Dr Diana Rojas Alvarez, AITHM
    • Faiz Elfaki, University, Doha, Qatar
    • https://research.jcu.edu.au/portfolio/emma.mcbryde/"> Federal Prof Emma McBryde, AITHM
    • Dr Damon Eisen, AITHM
  • Understanding immunity to COVID-19. May 2021

    Professor Denise Doolan at AITHM James Cook University is part of an Australian and international collaboration to understand immunity to SARS-CoV-2 and why individuals respond differently, and to develop diagnostics for COVID-19 suitable for rapid point-of-care measurement of immunity in low transmission and resource-poor areas.

    #Immunology #Diagnostics

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Professor Denise Doolan
    Professorial Research Fellow
    Denise.Doolan@jcu.edu.au
    +617 4232 1492
    Collaborations
    • The University of Queensland
    • Monash University
    • Mater Research
    • Queensland Health.
  • Understanding T cell mediated immune control of Sars-CoV-2 and the development of a cellular immunotherapy approach for COVID-19 May 2021

    Our research team is focused upon developing an understanding of immunodominant T cell responses to Sars-CoV-2 and using this knowledge as a platform to develop T cell based immunotherapy. Associate Professor Corey Smith, head of QIMR Berghofer’s Translational and Human Immunology Group, is leading the COVID-19 Immunity study, examining how the immune systems of those who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 responded to the virus. QIMR Berghofer researchers have received a million dollar boost to further their understanding of COVID-19 immunology from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) as part of its Coronavirus Research Response.

    #Immunology

    Centre

    QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

    Contact details
    Associate Professor Corey Smith
    Team Head
    corey.smith@qimrberghofer.edu.au
    +617 3362 0313
    Collaborations
  • Development of a novel antiviral agent to treat and prevent infections of SARS-CoV-2 May 2021

    Existing antivirals have only limited efficacy against COVID-19. With the threat of immune escape variants of the SARS-CoV-2 emerging, a broad-spectrum antiviral treatment is needed. This project will adapt our patent-pending defective interfering particles (DIPs) production platform to make SARS-CoV-2 DIPs, which will be investigated for anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in cell-based assays and in a mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

    #Treatment #Antivirals

    Centre

    QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

    Contact details
    Associate Professor David Harrich
    Senior Research Fellow
    david.harrich@qimrberghofer.edu.au
    +617 3845 3679
  • Loss of smell in COVID-19 May 2021

    Dr Daniel Hwang from the Diamantina Institute and Prof Eugeni Roura at the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences and team of researchers from the University of Queensland, are part of the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research, who are conducting world-wide scientific studies to assess the possible relationships between respiratory illness (e.g., COVID-19, influenza or the common cold) and their effects on smell & taste. They have collected data via online surveys from over 50 thousand individuals around the world.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Diamantina Institute
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Daniel Hwang
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    d.hwang@uq.edu.au
    +617 3443 7976
    Collaborations
    • Prof Katherine Kedzierska, Peter Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne
    • Australian National University
    • Burnet Institute, Monash University
    • The University of Queensland
  • Enhancing COVID-19 vaccination and pandemic preparedness via Nanopatch skin delivery May 2021

    This Advance Queensland Fellowship takes the Queensland based innovation, the Nanopatch and combines it with novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to develop a SARS-CoV-2 Nanopatch vaccine. This fellowship will investigate the quality of the immune responses, the ability of the patient to self-vaccinate and the immune signatures of the vaccine via systems vaccinology.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr David Muller
    Senior Research Fellow
    d.muller4@uq.edu.au
    +617 3365 4881
    Collaborations
    • Collaborators:
    • Professor Min Xie and her team, Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Tongji Hospital
    • Tongji Medical College
    • Huazhong University of Science and Technology
  • High levels of a specific cytokines in COVID-19 severity suggest a divergence between anti-viral and pro-inflammatory T-cell responses May 2021

    This Queensland collaborative research project with several Chinese research institutes aimed to gain an understanding of the paradox of the immunity in COVID-19 patients with T cells showing both functional defects and hyperactivation and enhanced proliferation. By investigating COVID-19 patient samples and mouse models, this study demonstrates a divergent function of T cells in severe COVID?19 patients in which insufficient anti?viral immunity and pro?inflammatory T cell expansion contribute to disease severity.

    #Immunology

    Centre

    Diamantina Institute
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof Di Yu
    Professorial Research Fellow
    di.yu@uq.edu.au
    +614 2333 9898
    Collaborations
    Dongsheng Li Andreas Suhrbier Min-Shuan Lin
  • Identifying and mitigating future risks from Queensland wastewater industry through biosolids technology innovation. May 2021

    This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Elsa Antunes from James Cook University's Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science will characterise emergent chemical contaminants and biohazards that are present in biosolids from North Queensland Councils. Technological solutions to treat biosolids and mitigate hazards will be developed to prevent future emergent contaminant related disasters. The efficacy of biosolids treatment technologies will be proven and the potential for councils to generate a value-added and saleable product will be assessed.

    #Management

    Centre

    College of Science and Engineering
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Dr Elsa Antunes
    Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering
    elsa.antunes1@jcu.edu.au
    +614 9865 6948
    Collaborations
  • Flattening the curve is not enough, we need to squash it: An explainer using a simple model July 2021

    At the end of March 2020, COVID-19 had been diagnosed in over 4,000 Australians. Up until mid-March 2020, most were from international travel, however there then followed a rise in locally acquired cases. The Flattening the curve is not enough, we need to squash it: An explainer using a simple model study uses a simple transmission dynamic model to demonstrate the difference between moderate changes to the reproduction number and forcing the reproduction number below one. Lowering local transmission is becoming important in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 and to maintain control of the epidemic, the focus should be on those in the community who do not regard themselves as at risk. Researchers at JCU's AITHM are writing important timely analyses of COVID-19, with an Australian perspective. The reports may be very valuable at time of publishing, but may have less value a month later, once peer review is completed. AITHM are therefore making all their preprint reports publically available.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Prof Emma McBryde
    Prof of Infectious Diseases Modelling and Epidemiology
    emma.mcbryde@jcu.edu.au
    +61 7 478 16547
    Collaborations
  • Modelling the impact of COVID-19 upon intensive care services in New South Wales July 2021

    In collaboration with A/Professor Gregory Fox, University of Sydney and Senior Research Fellow, Monash University, Professor Emma McBryde at JCU modelled the impact of COVID-19 upon intensive care services in New South Wales. The Australian healthcare system faces a mounting burden due to COVID-19. Modelling performed in a comparable population in the United Kingdom anticipates a substantial burden for intensive care departments. This analysis, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, uses two approaches to estimating intensive care unit (ICU) bed demands associated with COVID-19 in the context of local health districts in NSW. Researchers at AITHM are writing important timely analyses of COVID-19, with an Australian perspective. The reports may be very valuable at time of publishing, but may have less value a month later, once peer review is completed. AITHM are therefore making all their preprint reports publically available.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Prof Emma McBryde
    Prof of Infectious Diseases Modelling and Epidemiology
    emma.mcbryde@jcu.edu.au
    +61 7 478 16547
    Collaborations
    • Burdekin Shire Council
    • Townsville City Council
    • Mackay Regional Council
    • Whitsunday Regional Council
    • Isaac Regional Council
  • The value of early transmission dynamic studies in emerging infectious diseases July 2021

    In this timely article published in the Lancet, Professor Emma McBryde from AITHM explained the importance of early transmission dynamic studies in emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19, at the point when the world was braced for a public health emergency of international. Person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, started in December, 2019, in Wuhan, China and quickly spread to become a global pandemic. Modelling studies aided understanding of COVID-19 dynamics from the first announcement of the epidemic and publication of the genetic sequence of the causative virus. Initial phylogenetic analysis of closely related viruses suggested highly linked person-to-person spread of SARS-CoV-2 originating from mid-November to early December, 2019. Following this, modellers provided simple calculations that identified a mismatch between reported cases in China and reported importations of cases from travellers. Based on travel volumes, modellers inferred that cases in Wuhan were underestimated by a factor of 40—a crucially important finding. Researchers at AITHM are writing important timely analyses of COVID-19, with an Australian perspective. The reports may be very valuable at time of publishing, but may have less value a month later, once peer review is completed. AITHM are therefore making all their preprint reports publically available.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Prof Emma McBryde
    Prof of Infectious Diseases Modelling and Epidemiology
    emma.mcbryde@jcu.edu.au
    +61 7 478 16547
    Collaborations
    School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University
  • ‘Corona? 5G? Or Both?’: The Dynamics of COVID-19/5G Conspiracy Theories on Facebook May 2021

    Focussing in detail on one key component of the infodemic surrounding COVID-19, this research traces the dissemination dynamics of rumours that the pandemic outbreak was somehow related to the rollout of 5G mobile telephony technology in Wuhan and around the world. Drawing on a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods including time-series analysis, network analysis and in-depth close reading, our analysis shows the dissemination of the rumour on Facebook from its obscure origins in pre-existing conspiracist groups through greater uptake in more diverse communities to substantial amplification by celebrities, sports stars and media outlets. The indepth tracing of COVID-related mis- and disinformation across social networks offers important new insights into the dynamics of online information dissemination and points to opportunities to slow and stop the spread of false information, or at least to combat it more directly with accurate counterinformation.

    #Data Science #Social Media

    Centre

    Digital Media Research Centre
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Prof Axel Bruns
    Program Leader - Digital Publics
    a.bruns@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 5548
    Collaborations
    • The University of Sydney - Central Clinical School
    • Monash University - School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
  • COVID-19 a perfect storm for conspiracy theories May 2021

    Researchers from QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre have taken a deep dive into their world to trace wild rumours on social media claiming the coronavirus was caused by 5G technology. They found what was once being preached to the already converted was quickly fanned further afield by social media and celebrities spreading the message.

    #Data Science #Social Media

    Centre

    Digital Media Research Centre
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Prof Axel Bruns
    Program Leader - Digital Publics
    a.bruns@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 5548
  • Developing an antiviral surface cleaner utilising unique surface adsorption properties of gelatine-hydrolysate. July 2021

    The Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Heather Shewan at UQ School of Chemical Engineering aims to develop a novel antiviral cleaner to decrease the survival time of COVID-19 on surfaces by utilising hydrolysed gelatine to form an active film. This will be achieved through evaluation of thin-film material properties, virology and microbiology. Outcomes for Queensland include an antiviral surface cleaner product to reduce surface transmission of COVID-19 and possible new manufacturing opportunity in the State.

    #Management

    Centre

    School of Chemical Engineering
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Heather Shewan
    Research Fellow
    h.shewan@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 336 54920
    Collaborations
    • GELITA Australia
    • OzKleen
  • Combating the transmission of coronavirus in urban water systems through novel disinfection. July 2021

    This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Ji Lu from the UQ Advanced Water Management Centre aims to investigate the fate (occurrence, abundance, distribution and survival) of SARS-CoV-2 and address transmission risks of SARS-CoV-2 in urban water systems. In addition to evaluating the efficiency of current disinfection processes in removing SARS-CoV-2, this project will develop a novel and universal disinfection method as a proactive strategy to combat various viruses for other potential pandemics.

    #Management

    Centre

    Advanced Water Management Centre
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Ji Lu
    Postdoctoral researcher
    j.lu@awmc.uq.edu.au
    +61 7 3346 9042
    Collaborations
    • BGI Australia
    • Urban Utilities
    • Queensland Health
  • Chimeric insect-specific viruses for laboratory and point-of-care diagnosis of emergent viral disease. July 2021

    Effective outbreak response is reliant on the rapid production of scaleable, inexpensive and accurate diagnostic assays. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Jody Hobson-Peters from the UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences will expand on an innovative program to use insect-specific viruses to produce authentic, recombinant antigens for emergent viruses, including COVID-19. These antigens will be applied to high-throughput laboratory assays and rapid hand-held diagnostics, enabling vigilant testing for viral disease in Queensland communities.

    #Diagnostics

    Centre

    School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    A/Prof Jody Hobson-Peters
    Research Fellow
    j.peters2@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 336 54648
    Collaborations
    • Queensland Health
    • BioCifer
    • Australian Red Cross Lifeblood
  • Impact of COVID-19 on Physical Activity of 10,000 Steps Members and Engagement with the Program in Australia January 2021

    Physical activity is an important health behavior, due to its association with many physical and mental health conditions. During distressing events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a concern that physical activity levels may be negatively impacted. The free 10,000 Steps program has been run by a team at CQUniversity since 2001. The aim of this study supported by Health and Well Being Queensland was to investigate changes in physical activity reported through the 10,000 Steps program and changes in engagement with the program during the COVID-19 pandemic. A decrease in steps was observed after the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Australia and after the start of the lockdown. At the time that the relaxing of restrictions started, the steps had already recovered from the lockdown. During the lockdown, the use of the program increased steeply. On the peak day, there were more than 9000 step entries per day, with nearly 100 million steps logged per day. More than 450 new users and more than 15 new organizations registered per day, although the numbers decreased quickly when restrictions were relaxed. On average per day, there were about 55 new registered users, 2 new organizations, 25.6 million steps, and 2672 log entries more in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
    CQUniversity

    Contact details
    Prof Corneel Vandelanotte
    Professorial Research Fellow
    c.vandelanotte@cqu.edu.au
    +617 4923 2183
    Collaborations
    Prof Jianxun Qi, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China
  • Does high public trust amplify compliance with stringent COVID-19 government health guidelines? A multi-country analysis using data from 102,627 individuals January 2021

    The purpose of this research was to examine how public trust mediates the people’s adherence to levels of stringent government health policies and to establish if these effects vary across the political regimes. The study used data from two large-scale surveys: the global behaviors and perceptions at the onset of COVID-19 pandemic and the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT). Linear regression models were used to estimate the effects of public trust and strictness of restriction measures on people’s compliance level. The model accounted for individual and daily variations in country-level stringency of preventative measures. Differences in the dynamics between public trust, the stringent level of government health guidelines and policy compliance were also examined among countries based on political regimes. The study found strong evidence of the increase in compliance due to the imposition of stricter government restrictions. The examination of heterogeneous effects suggests that high public trust in government and the perception of its truthfulness double the impact of policy restrictions on public compliance. Among political regimes, higher levels of public trust significantly increase the predicted compliance as stringency level rises in authoritarian and democratic countries. This study highlights the importance of public trust in government and its institutions during public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The results are relevant and help understand why governments need to address the risks of non-compliance among low trusting individuals to achieve the success of the containment policies.

    #Business and economics #Social sciences #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Dr Anton Pak
    Research Fellow
    anton.pak@jcu.edu.au
    +617 4781 5834
    Collaborations
  • Spatial mapping of COVID-19 infected tissues May 2021

    We used cutting-edge spatial mapping tools to identify and compare cells in the lungs of COVID-19 patients, to that of influenza and healthy tissue. This work has identified genes which are exclusive to COVID-19 and may be used to stratify disease severity early on.

    #Data Science #Diagnostics #Immunology

    Centre

    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Arutha Kulasinghe
    NHMRC Research Fellow
    arutha.kulasinghe@qut.edu.au
    +617 3138 6227
    Collaborations
    • Collaborators:
    • Prof Emma S McBryde Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University
    • Dr Oyelola A Adegboye College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University
  • COVID-19 vaccines and inhibitors May 2021

    This project uses structural biology to help develop new potential vaccines and inhibitors (both neutralizing antibodies and small molecules) for SARS-CoV-2. The project will take advantage of the complementary expertise, preliminary data and facilities available to the applicants at University of Queensland (Brisbane) and Institute of Microbiology (Beijing), supporting a collaborative relationship between key experts from Queensland and Chinese Academy of Sciences. The therapeutics developed by this project will contribute to managing the current and future potential pandemics.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Professor Bostjan Kobe
    ARC Laureate Fellow
    b.kobe@uq.edu.au
    +617 3365 2132
    Collaborations
  • Accelerating technology uptake during a pandemic: enabling and extending delivery of rehabilitation. August 2020

    COVID-19 significantly disrupted the delivery of healthcare, especially in areas that require physical interaction, such as disability and rehabilitation. Although existing technology could enable remote interventions, its widespread adoption is limited. In this Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Camila Shirota from the Griffith University Hopkins Centre, a Technology Assessment and Adoption Framework will be co-designed across multiple stakeholders, to accelerate and facilitate the uptake of remote technology in rehabilitation settings across Queensland.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    The Hopkins Centre, Menzies Health Institute Queensland
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Dr Camila Shirota
    Research Fellow
    c.shirota@griffith.edu.au
    +617 3735 8101
    Collaborations
    Aegros
  • Optimising telehealth to future-proof the delivery of autism related services. August 2020

    This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by A/Prof David Trembath from the Griffith University Hopkins Centre will support Queensland’s lead service provider for individuals with autism and their families as it responds to COVID-19 disruption and builds resilience through the transition to telehealth delivery. The work will identify and extend the most effective models to keep individuals and families supported, minimise staff impacts, and improve access to services for regional and remote Queenslanders.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    The Hopkins Centre, Menzies Health Institute Queensland
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    A/Prof David Trembath
    Deputy Research Director
    d.trembath@griffith.edu.au
    +617 5678 0103
    Collaborations
    Xing Technologies
  • Economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak: the need for epidemic preparedness May 2020

    COVID-19 is not only a global pandemic and public health crisis; it has also severely affected the global economy and financial markets. Significant reductions in income, a rise in unemployment, and disruptions in the transportation, service, and manufacturing industries are among the consequences of the disease mitigation measures that have been implemented in many countries. It has become clear that most governments in the world underestimated the risks of rapid COVID-19 spread and were mostly reactive in their crisis response. As disease outbreaks are not likely to disappear in the near future, proactive international actions are required to not only save lives but also protect economic prosperity. Read the full article Public Health Policy - Frontiers in Public Health. As the disease outbreaks are not likely to disappear in the near future, proactive international actions are required to not only save lives but also protect economic prosperity. Researchers at AITHM, JCU are writing important timely analyses of COVID-19, with an Australian perspective. The reports may be very valuable at time of publishing, but may have less value a month later, once peer review is completed. AITHM are therefore making all their preprint reports publically available.

    #Business and economics #Social sciences #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Dr Anton Pak
    Research Fellow
    anton.pak@jcu.edu.au
    +61 7 478 15834
    Collaborations
  • Application of separation technologies for rapid treatment of COVID-19 and related outbreaks. August 2021

    This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Craig Bell from UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology aims to produce a rapid, first-pass treatment for COVID-19 patients, and inoculation protection for front-line health workers. This project will evaluate application of separation membranes to create concentrated antibody-rich hyperimmune sera derived from blood of recovered COVID-19 patients. Without working vaccines, hyperimmune sera are the only viable rapid turnaround treatment for infectious diseases now and in the future.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Craig Bell
    UQ Amplify Researcher
    c.bell1@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 334 60322
    Collaborations
  • Novel virus trap nanotechnology for COVID-19 detection. May 2021

    A highly innovative virus trapping nanotechnology will be developed in this Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Christopher Howard from the UQ Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology to enable rapid population-based screening of COVID-19 and other viral threats. The virus trap technology is cheap, easy-to-use, temperature stable, provides immediate results, is scalable for mass manufacture and will for the first time allow high throughput virus diagnostics for rapid screening during viral pandemics.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Christopher Howard
    Senior Research Fellow
    c.howard2@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 334 64270
    Collaborations
  • Impact of COVID19 on educators May 2021

    This research by USQ will explore the impact of COVID-19 on educators (from early childhood up through to higher education). The study will use established and validated surveys such as Kessler 10 and self-efficacy (Utrecht Work Engagement Scale). The survey will be conducted online. A snowballing method of collecting participants will be used, starting with the researchers' personal and professional networks.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Centre for Health Research
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Ass Prof Petrea Redmond
    Ass Prof (Educational Technology)
    Petrea.Redmond@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 46312318
    Collaborations
    Autism Queensland
  • Ghost Trains: Australian Rail in the Early Stages of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic February 2021

    The rail industry, as with all sectors worldwide, has faced disruptions due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This research considers how rail organisations in Australia have engaged within the early stages of the crisis, outlining the challenges faced and how they were addressed. Recommendations re provided regarding how the Human Factors and Ergonomics discipline can support safe and effective rail operations in the context of both widespread crises such as pandemics as well as the less dramatic, but ever present, shifts in the physical, social, economic and political environments in which rail organisations operate.

    #Management

    Centre

    School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
    CQUniversity

    Contact details
    Associate Professor Anjum Naweed
    Senior Research Fellow
    anjum.naweed@cqu.edu.au
    +61 7 4930 9264
    Collaborations
  • Researchers develop direct-acting antiviral therapy to treat COVID-19 May 2021

    Scientists from Menzies Health Institute Queensland and City of Hope in the US have developed an experimental direct-acting antiviral for COVID-19. They used gene-silencing RNA technology - siRNA (small-interfering RNA) to attack the virus's genome directly. This stops the virus from replicating and is delivers the siRNA to the lungs by lipid nanoparticles. This still experimental treatment was designed at Griffith University and City of Hope. The treatment reduces viral load by 99.9% and is designed to work on all betacoronaviruses such as the original SARS virus (SARS-CoV-1) as well as SARS-CoV-2 and any new variants that may arise in the future.

    #Immunology #Management

    Centre

    Menzies Health Institute Queensland
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Prof Nigel McMillan
    Program Director Infectious Diseases and Immunology
    n.mcmillan@griffith.edu.au
    +61 0413 730 894
    Collaborations
    • Collaborator: Beckman Research Institute - City of Hope USA
    • Funder: Medical Research Futures Fund - Australian Government
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy in patients with Haematological Malignancy (COVEM) March 2021

    This study will collect blood samples from patients receiving vaccination for SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We will examine cellular and humoral immune responses to vaccination in patients who have received treatments for haematological malignancies targeting specific immune cells, B cells, and those who have undergone bone marrow transplantation. This will enable us to understand how these treatments affect the immune response to COVID-19 vaccination and whether vaccination will provide effective protection in patients with haematological malignancies.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

    Contact details
    Dr Andrea Henden
    Research Officer
    andrea.henden@qimrberghofer.edu.au
    +61 7 (0)408 742 334
    Collaborations
  • Evaluation of new interventions against SARS-CoV-2 using in vitro assay systems and mouse models, including transgenic hACE2 mice. March 2021

    We have repurposed a PC3 facility at QIMR Berghofer MRI to work with SARS-CoV-2 and have been evaluating a series of anti-viral drugs, vaccines, biologics, diagnostics and devices in collaboration with a series of academic and commercial collaborators.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

    Contact details
    Prof Andreas Suhrbier
    Group Leader
    Andreas.Suhrbier@qimrberghofer.edu.au
    +61 7 33620415
    Collaborations
    • Collaborators:
    • University Queensland
    • Griffith University
    • A series of biotech companies
  • Preventing secondary harm: Scaffolding healthcare capacity to promote Indigenous adolescents’ mental health. April 2021

    COVID-19 is predicted to exacerbate the already significant prevalence of high levels of psychological distress in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents. Partnered with three Indigenous primary healthcare services, this Cairns-based Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Prof. Janya McCalman from CQUniversity's Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research responds by enhancing primary healthcare capacity to assess and promote adolescents' mental health, and provide specific COVID-19 incident/cluster mental health prevention and intervention and aims to improve recovery and preparedness for future pandemics. Requested by the CEO of one of the partner Indigenous primary healthcare services, Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service in Yarrabah, preliminary research scoped their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and implications for their organisation and community engagement and responses to the diverse issues of community members in lockdown. The resultant report examines when and what was done well, what was not, and what strategies and resources should be improved for Gurriny to respond more effectively to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and any future pandemics or critical events, including for youth health.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research
    CQUniversity

    Contact details
    Prof Janya McCalman
    Professorial Research Fellow - Indigenous Health
    j.mccalman@cqu.edu.au
    07 4037 4743
    Collaborations
    Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
  • National COVID-19 Community Survey June 2020

    A national longitudinal survey on the health and wellbeing of Australians living through COVID-19 is collecting data from Australian adults to investigate what people know and what health-related behaviours people adopt throughout the term of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CQU research examines the associations between psychological distress and changes in selected health behaviours since the onset of COVID-19 in Australia and included measures of depression, anxiety, stress, physical activity, sleep, alcohol intake and cigarette smoking.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
    CQUniversity

    Contact details
    Dr Robert Stanton
    Senior Lecturer
    r.stanton@cqu.edu.au
    (07) 4923 2275
    Collaborations
    Monash University
  • Evaluation of COVID-19 antiviral and vaccine candidates, using a non-infectious virus-like-particle platform. April 2021

    In order to develop a treatment or vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, laboratory based analyses are required. Currently these are restricted to laboratories with high-containment facilities. The Griffith University Institute for Glycomics have developed a non-infectious system, which if scaled up may provide a high-capacity screening platform. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Belinda de Villiers at Institute for Glycomics will enable optimisation of this novel testing platform, thereby permitting rapid pre-clinical evaluation of antiviral candidates against COVID-19.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    Institute for Glycomics
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Dr Belinda de Villiers
    Research Fellow
    b.devilliers@griffith.edu.au
    +617 5552 9351
    Collaborations
    • Manildra Harwood Sugar (Sunshine Sugar)
    • Evolve Group
  • Using multidisciplinary approaches to identify compounds that bind to Human ACE2 or SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein as candidates to block SARS-CoV-2-ACE2 Receptor interactions. March 2021

    A team of leading researchers at Griffith University's Institute of Glycomics used multidisciplinary approaches to identify compounds that bind to Human ACE2 or SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein as candidates to block SARS-CoV-2-ACE2 Receptor interactions. This study has identified potential drugs for repurposing as SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitors or as chemical scaffolds for drug development and is published at American Society for Micobiology mBio Journal.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Institute for Glycomics
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Prof Michael Jennings
    Deputy Director and NHMRC Principal Research Fellow
    m.jennings@griffith.edu.au
    61800000000
    Collaborations
    Collaborators: Visualisation and eResearch
  • Rapid assay system to evaluate potential drug and vaccine candidates to prevent the entry of SARS-CoV-2 April 2021

    Professor Johnson Mak and his research team at GU's Institute of Glycomics are working to establish a rapid assay system to evaluate potential drug and vaccine candidates that can prevent the entry of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in collaboration with the other research teams within the Institute.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    Institute for Glycomics
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Prof Johnson Mak
    Research Leader
    j.mak@griffith.edu.au
    +61 (0)7 5552 8077
    Collaborations
    • University of Melbourne
    • University of Oxford
  • The significance of viral communities in bats in the spillover of bat-borne viruses into other animals May 2021

    Dr Alison Peel, a veterinarian and wildlife disease ecologist, and her team at the Wildlife Disease Ecology Group at the Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security have been undertaking a long term study of how the environment, animals, viruses and people interact across multiple scales to cause viral spillover from bats into horses and humans. The research aims to develop a better understanding of the dynamics of wildlife diseases which can be used to ensure scientifically sound decisions relating to the health of wildlife, domestic animals and people, as well as conservation and to provide sustainable solutions that protect future generations from novel zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19. The importance of Dr Peel’s research is paramount when you consider that bats have also been implicated in the transmission of coronaviruses and Ebola to people—potentially as a result of human disruption to natural environments. As SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to known bat viruses, a review of research in Australia identified that there are only three studies of bat coronaviruses in Australian bat species and a qualitative risk assessment conducted by a multi-disciplinary group evaluated the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from humans to bats in the Australian context.

    #Zoonotics

    Centre

    Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Dr Alison Peel
    Senior Research Fellow
    a.peel@griffith.edu.au
    +61 (0)467 806 660
    Collaborations
    • Associate Prof Petrea Redmond (USQ)
    • Prof Jill Lawrence (USQ)
    • Dr M Foote (Gardner Institute, North Carolina, USA)
    • Associate Prof Cathy Stone (University of Newcastle)
  • Researchers warn about the potential increase in COVID-19 cases and remind Nigerians to practice "physical" distancing April 2021

    Following analysis of the cumulative number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the first day of importation to selected African countries and the worse affected countries outside Africa, researchers from AITHM at JCU and the Federal University of Technology, Nigeria have warned that Nigerians should practice “physical” distancing. They warned that it is important to understand that the travel ban imposed by the Federal Government has prevented or reduced future importations according to their simulation study which found that the effects of the international travel ban imposed by the Australia Government resulted in an 80% reduction in COVID-19 importations. Researchers at AITHM are writing important timely analyses of COVID-19, with an Australian perspective. The reports may be very valuable at time of publishing, but may have less value a month later, once peer review is completed. AITHM are therefore making all their preprint reports publically available.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Dr Oyelola Adegboye
    Research Fellow
    oyelola.adegboye@jcu.edu.au
    +61 7 478 15707
    Collaborations
  • Delaying the COVID-19 epidemic in Australia: Evaluating the effectiveness of international travel bans April 2021

    Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China late 2019, different countries have put in place interventions such as travel ban, proper hygiene, and social distancing to slow the spread of this novel virus. Researchers from AITHM at JCU, in collaboration with Victoria University and Monash University, evaluated the effects of travel bans in the Australia context and projected the epidemic until May 2020. The modelling results closely align with observed cases in Australia indicating the need for maintaining or improving on the control measures to slow down the virus. Researchers at AITHM are writing important timely analyses of COVID-19, with an Australian perspective. The reports may be very valuable at time of publishing, but may have less value a month later, once peer review is completed. AITHM are therefore making all their preprint reports publicly available.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Dr Adeshina Adekunle
    Research Fellow, Infectious Diseases Modeller
    adeshina.adekunle@jcu.edu.au
    +61 7 478 16659
    Collaborations
    Gold Coast University Hospital
  • Can a new modified BCG-based tuberculosis vaccine also help protect against COVID-19? April 2021

    JCU researchers are exploring the possibility of improving their modified BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guérin) vaccine strain to protect front-line health workers and other vulnerable populations against COVID-19. BCG is the widely used vaccine against tuberculosis and has been associated with reduced rates of COVID-19. By understanding the mechanisms on how BCG mediates protection against viral diseases, such as COVID-19, they will be able to develop an improved strain of BCG.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Dr Andreas Kupz
    Senior Research Fellow
    andreas.kupz@jcu.edu.au
    +61 7 423 22048
    Collaborations
  • Developing T-cell vaccine for COVID-19 that is easy to administer, transport and store April 2021

    Professor John Miles is utilising JCU's hyperstable peptide vaccine platform to identify a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the form of a potentially highly efficient nasal spray that does not require cold chain transport and storage and is easy to administer. Based at JCU's Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, the group, including Professors Louis Schofield and Denise Doolan, is working on pre-clinical development with a view to clinical trials in 18 months. They are seeking investment to continue and accelerate this vaccine development work.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Prof John Miles
    john.miles@jcu.edu.au
    +61 7 423 21284
    Collaborations
    • Forensic and Scientific Services
    • Pathology Queensland
    • Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
    • Princess Alexandra Hospital
  • COVID-19 UNMASKED: Supporting young children and their parents April 2021

    COVID-19 Unmasked (Young Children) is an online prospective longitudinal cohort study led by Dr. Alexandra De Young from the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health and the University of Queensland. De Young is also leading this global collaboration with COVID-19 Unmasked projects underway in 9 countries (Australia, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, US, UK). Collaborating researchers aim to (a) describe and compare the COVID-19 related experiences within and across countries; (b) examine mental health outcomes for young children (1 to 5 years) and caregivers over a 12-month period during the COVID-19 pandemic; (c) identify the relationships between risk and protective factors for child and caregiver emotional wellbeing; and (d) combine data from all participating countries into one large open access cross-cultural dataset to facilitate further international collaborations and joint publications.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health - Children's Health Queensland
    Queensland Health

    Contact details
    Dr Alexandra De Young
    Research Fellow
    alex.deyoung@health.qld.gov.au
    +61 7 3266 0300
    Collaborations
    • Co-researcher: Dr Aaron Timoshanko
    • Collaborators:
    • Associate Prof Francesca Bartlett - UQ School of Law
    • Andrea Perry-Petersen
    • Angus Murray - The Legal Forecast
  • Impact and implications of COVID-19 on clinical supervision in hospital settings. April 2021

    This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Priya Martin at the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service's Cunningham Centre will investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on clinical supervision practices of health professionals and students in regional and rural Queensland Health settings. Recommendations and strategies will be developed to negate the impact of this pandemic so that effective clinical supervision practices are maintained at the point of care.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Cunningham Centre - Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service
    Queensland Health

    Contact details
    Dr Priya Martin
    Adjunct Fellow - Rural Clinical School
    priya.martin@health.qld.gov.au
    07 4037 4743
    Collaborations
  • First 100 days of COVID-19 - Australian Twitter users' concerns mapped May 2021

    Twitter users were well ahead of the Federal Government in calling for shutdown of large sporting events, mass gatherings and schools. According to analysis of the 2.8 million tweets mentioning coronavirus during the first 100 days of COVID-19 on the Australian Twittersphere undertaken by team led by A/Prof. Daniel Angus from the Institute for Future Environments's Digital Observatory, Twitter users turned to medical experts for information while governments discussed measures. “In early to mid-March Twitter users began putting pressure on the federal and state ministers to shut down non-essential gatherings with tweets containing #coronavirus, the leading hashtag followed by #covid19, and the third most common hashtag at this time was #auspol, long used for political discussion" A/Prof Angus said. A/Prof Angus continued "When the story of this pandemic is written historians will have an unprecedented amount of as-it-happened data from social media."

    #Data Science #Social Media

    Centre

    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    A/Prof Daniel Angus
    Associate Professor in Digital Communication
    daniel.angus@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 8160
    Collaborations
    • Co-researcher:
    • Professor Terry Flew, Professor of Digital Communication and Culture, University of Sydney
  • Safely relaxing social distancing comes down to the numbers May 2021

    Your house number could be the key to the safe relaxation of COVID-19-related restrictions if governments follow a new exit strategy proposal published in the British Medical Journal. Co-authored by Professor Adrian Barnett, a statistician with QUT’s School of Public Health and Social Work, An exit strategy for relaxing physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 suggests governments around the globe use an ‘odds-and-evens’ approach to allowing people to head back to work and enjoy other activities after weeks of lockdown. “Governments in Australia and elsewhere are seeking to balance competing priorities. Social distancing has certainly been proven to reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19 but has had a negative impact on the economy and created other health issues,” said Professor Barnett. “A major problem with relaxing restrictions too quickly is the limited evidence on how this will affect transmission of the virus and no-one wants to see another wave of infection and deaths which would lead to a return to lockdown. “We propose an interim solution in which allowing people to return to a less-restricted life should be based on odd or even house numbers. For example, people in odd numbered houses have relaxed restrictions on odd days in the month (1st, 3rd, etc) and people in even number houses on even days (2nd, 4th, etc). “This halves the population mixing, which reduces the risk of a new wave occurring, and it creates useful data for judging whether restrictions can be further relaxed or should be tightened.”

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Prof Adrian Barnett
    Senior Research Fellow
    a.barnett@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 6010
  • The impact of COVID-19 on cultural tourism: art, culture and communication in four regional sites of Queensland, Australia April 2021

    The arts, cultural and creative industries are among the most adversely affected sectors of the economy in the wake of COVID-19 social distancing measures, travel restrictions and prohibition of large gatherings of people. Focusing on Cairns, the Gold Coast, Central West and the Sunshine Coast – four regional areas of Queensland, Australia – this article by Prof. Terry Flew and researcher Katherine Kirkwood from the QUT Digital Media Research Centre provides an overview of impacts on cultural tourism and considers the prospects for regional cultural tourism as part of a ‘creative economy’ revival.

    #Tourism #Creative industries

    Centre

    Digital Media Research Centre
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Katherine Kirkwood
    Research Assistant
    ke.kirkwood@qut.edu.au
    +61 (0)406 075 478
    Collaborations
    Alsonex Pty Ltd
  • Survival of the smallest? Retail’s post COVID-19 future June 2020

    Retailers are facing a COVID-19 customer base that is more frugal, cautious and cocooning with a greater propensity to shop online, says QUT Business School consumer behaviour expert Prof. Gary Mortimer. "Australians are now spending almost 10 cents in every shopping dollar online. Once shoppers have set up accounts, logins, credit card details and have gained trust, online shopping will become a habitual activity. It is estimated 80 per cent of us will be shopping online by next year and with ecommerce jumping by 21.8 per cent compared to the same time last year as COVID-19 restrictions took.” Prof. Mortimer said the shift to online presented large retailers and shopping centres with several challenges such as an inability to respond quickly to consumer shifts toward digital channels. In contrast, small and micro retailers are most likely to survive and thrive during and after the COVID-19 shutdowns because many are able to pivot and adapt their business operations more rapidly than larger competitors. Shoppers maybe more inclined to patronise smaller, independent retailers, in order to avoid busy centres and crowds.” With small retail businesses estimated to contribute $21.9bn to local economies, Prof. Mortimer is now researching how small retail businesses located in regional and rural areas of Queensland are adapting and responding to COVID-19. Small retail businesses are critical to the survival of regional Queensland communities. “There is an urgent need to understand how regional small businesses are responding to these emergent challenges and put in place interventions that can guide such businesses in their response to external disruptive forces, such as COVID-19” said Prof. Mortimer.

    #Business and economics

    Centre

    QUT Business School
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Prof Gary Mortimer
    Professor QUT Business School
    gary.mortimer@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 5084
    Collaborations
    Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems
  • Drug discovery team use super-computer to screen compounds for treatment of COVID-19 May 2021

    The QUT Cancer and Ageing Research Program’s drug discovery team is using a super-computer to screen thousands of FDA-approved therapeutics and millions of drug-like compounds to see if any of them could be effective in treating COVID-19. In parallel, they have the capacity to physically screen 40,000 therapeutics in their TRI-based laboratory.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Cancer and Ageing Research Program
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Prof Derek Richard
    derek.richard@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 34437236
    Collaborations
  • Nanofibers with antiviral activity: potential applications for improving personal protective equipment safety. April 2021

    COVID-19 is a novel viral disease and there is no pre-existing immunity in our community. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Nasim Amiralian from UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology will develop antiviral materials using small fibres extracted from sugarcane which can be incorporated into different materials and surfaces such as face masks, plastics and metals to kill viruses. The project outcome will assist with the management of COVID-19 and preparedness for similar future events.

    #PPE

    Centre

    Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Nasim Amiralian
    UQ Amplify Researcher
    n.amiralian@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 344 31303
    Collaborations
  • Automating Infectious Disease Surveillance with Artificial Intelligence.  May 2021

    During viral pandemics, bacterial infections can significantly increase disease severity and result in unnecessarily high death rates. Disease severity is further complicated by high rates of antimicrobial resistance. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Brian Forde at the UQ Centre for Clinical Research will evaluate and develop an integrated artificial intelligence platform to automate and enhance existing genomic surveillance practices to reduce the burden of these infections when healthcare resources are stretched.

    #Data Science #Diagnostics

    Centre

    Centre for Clinical Research
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Brian Forde
    Fellow in Microbial Bioinformatics
    b.forde@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 334 65042
    Collaborations
  • Advancing a clinical drug targeting the complement system to treat COVID-19. April 2021

    COVID-19 is an infectious and potentially lethal respiratory disease that has altered the way we all live. There is, therefore, an urgent need to identify effective drugs for this disease. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr John Lee at UQ School of Biomedical Sciences entails validating and advancing a pre-existing clinical drug that targets our immune system, in the hope of finding an effective therapy for COVID-19 patients.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    School of Biomedical Sciences
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr John Lee
    Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellow
    j.lee9@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 336 52384
    Collaborations
    • Co-researcher:
    • Prof Denise Doolan
    • Prof Louis Schofield
  • Telehealth and coronavirus: Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) activity in Australia April 2021

    In March 2020, additional telehealth item numbers were added to the Australian Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to encourage physical distancing, for those accessing medical, nursing and allied health services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. UQ's Centre for Online Health (COH) has analysed the MBS service data and summarised telehealth uptake throughout Australia. This information will be updated on a monthly basis.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Centre for Online Health, Centre for Health Services Research
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Centaine Snoswell
    Research Fellow Health Economics
    c.snoswell@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 3176 5314
  • Developing a nanoparticle-based DNA vaccine for COVID-19 April 2021

    COVID-19 DNA vaccines hold great promise due to the short development timeline, ease of manufacture and good safety profile. This project aims to develop a DNA vaccine formulation for COVID-19, based on a UQ patented nanoparticle technology.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof Chengzhong (Michael) Yu
    Senior Group Leader - Yu Group
    c.yu@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 3346 3283
    Collaborations
    • Collaborators:
    • John-Sebastian Eden -Westmead Institute for Medical Research
    • Dr Ina Smith - CSIRO
    • Dr Edward Annand - University of Sydney
    • A/Prof Rain Plowright - Montana State University
    • Dr Vincent Munster -Rocky Mountain Laboratories
    • Funder: US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
  • Pivoting to online teaching during crisis using an engagement framework April 2021

    The COVID-19 crisis has required many universities to pivot from face-to-face to online teaching. The rapidity of this transition is challenging academics unfamiliar with online teaching. This USQ project will evaluate an existing, user-friendly capacity-building tool, the Online Engagement Framework through conducting interviews with novice online educators from across the globe. Data will contribute to existing research on developing educators’ online teaching capabilities, in addition to informing conceptual, theoretical and practical knowledge of online engagement.

    #Social sciences

    Centre

    Institute for Resilient Regions
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Alice Brown
    Senior Lecturer
    Alice.Brown@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 3470 4120
    Collaborations
    • Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
    • Translational Research Institute
    • PA Research Foundation
  • Motivating ‘buy in’ to engage in social distancing April 2021

    This USQ project forms part of an international research collaboration to understand how individuals engage with social distancing messaging related to COVID-19. Data has been collaboratively generated and pooled via 30 individual teams across 19 countries to contribute to a large open-source dataset. The overall aim of the project is to understand the most effective means through which messaging reflecting social distancing regulations is crafted. It is being coordinated by the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA.

    #Social sciences

    Centre

    Centre for Health Research
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Ass Prof Charlotte Brownlow
    Ass Dean Graduate Research School
    Charlotte.Brownlow@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 4631 2982
    Collaborations
    • Co-researchers:
    • Monica Taylor
    • Georgina Hobson
    • A/Prof Liam Caffery
    • Dr Emma Thomas
    • Dr Helen Haydon
    • Prof Anthony Smith
    • Collaborator: NHMRC Partnership Centre for Health System Sustainability
  • Queensland law firm capability to meet disruption including COVID 19 May 2021

    This University of Southern Queensland funded research project led by Associate Professor Caroline Hart, and funded by the Qld Law Society is focused on identifying factors associated with sole, micro, small and medium law firms capability to meet disruptions include COVID-19 and technology. Findings will be used to develop evidence-based decision-making on allocating resources to support law firms to meet disruption. Outcomes will also contribute to improving access to law and justice within regional and rural Queensland, where many of these firms are located.

    #Business and economics

    Centre

    School of Law and Justice
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    A/Prof Caroline Hart
    Associate Head of School
    Caroline.Hart@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 4631 1437
    Collaborations
    • Co-researchers:
    • To Quyen
    • Saman Khalesi Taharoom
    • Susan Williams
    • Stephanie Alley
    • Tanya Thwaite
    • Andrew Fenning
    • Corneel Vandelanotte
    • Collaborator - Appleton Institute
  • COVID-19 UNMASKED: Supporting children, adolescents and their parents April 2021

    This collaborative project led by Professor Sonja March from USQ's Centre for Health Research is a longitudinal examination of the mental health and wellbeing impacts of COVID-19 for children, adolescents (6-17 years) and parents through isolation and up to 1 year following the lifting of restrictions. It also examines child and parent use of digital and telehealth supports, along with acceptability and usefulness of these for adolescents and parents.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Centre for Health Research

    • University of Southern Queensland
    • Griffith University
    • The University of Queensland
    Contact details
    Prof Sonja March
    Prof, School of Psychology and Counselling and Centre for Health Research
    Sonja.March@usq.edu.au
    +617 3470 4434
  • CQU part of national APPRISE COVID-19 research project on the challenges present by the pandemic for First Nations people. March 2020

    First Nations people will face some unique challenges with COVID-19, including risks for infection, availability of preparedness plans, applicability of quarantine and isolation and risks of severe disease given the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and hypertension in First Nations people. Professor Adrian Miller from CQU is one of the Indigenous researchers in the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE) COVID-19 team. APPRISE is a national network of leading experts, institutions and researchers involved in clinical, laboratory, public health, and ethics research. Its mission is to inform Australia’s emergency response to infectious diseases.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research
    CQUniversity

    Contact details
    Prof Adrian Miller
    Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous Engagement
    a.miller@cqu.edu.au
    (07) 4726 5382
    Collaborations
    • Lead organisation - Doherty Institute
    • Funder - Paul Ramsay Foundation
  • Drone management technology for improved aeromedical response to pandemics and natural disasters. August 2020

    Drone delivery services are changing the way we respond to pandemics and disasters. In the COVID-19 pandemic, drones were used to deliver critical medicines and supplies to vulnerable people and isolated communities around the world. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Aaron Mcfadyen from QUT's School of Electrical Engineering & Robotics will develop drone management technology to scale up drone services and better prepare Queensland communities for future pandemics and natural disasters.

    #Management

    Centre

    Electrical Engineering and Robotics
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Aaron McFadyen
    Lecturer
    aaron.mcfadyen@qut.edu.au
    +617 3138 4294
    Collaborations
    Airservices Australia
  • Antiviral and antibacterial surfaces using nanotechnology for Queensland hospitals. August 2020

    The emergence of COVID-19, for which there are currently no medications or vaccines, and the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs, reveals a critical need to develop and implement technologies that prevent pathogen surface transmission. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Alka Jaggessar from QUT's School of Mechanical, Medical and Process Engineering will use nanotechnology to develop surfaces that deactivate viruses and bacteria in Queensland hospitals, reducing the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

    #Management

    Centre

    School of Mechanical, Medical and Process Engineering
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Alka Jaggessar
    alka.jaggessar@qut.edu.au
    Collaborations
    • Sri Medical Devices and Healthcare Solutions
    • Panda Healthcare Pty Ltd
    • Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
  • GRIDD researchers take next step in COVID-19 vaccine development March 2020

    Mouse model trials are being run for several COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by Griffith University scientists. Lead researcher Professor Bernd Rehm at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery (GRIDD) has spearheaded the development of the platform technology which uses a synthetic version of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) which means selected virus components are assembled by safe microbial cell factories. This allows rapid vaccine design combined with a high-yield bioprocess for mass production of the vaccine. “Our Centre for Cell Factories and Biopolymers has developed a technology which allows us to quickly adapt to emerging threats by precision engineering vaccines. The approach is based on hijacking the assembly pathways of microbial cells to assemble our own targets in this process.” Professor Rehm, who is the author or co-author of nearly 60 patent applications, said his team has already developed four vaccine candidates containing components of the virus which causes COVID-19. GRIDD developed a platform technology to rapidly respond to newly emerging pathogens not only enabling fast design of new vaccines but also employing a manufacturing process that can be ported across to an industrial production facility to enable supply of vaccine to millions of people within weeks. They have now partnered with Brisbane-based biomanufacturing company Luina Bio to deliver the vaccine candidates.

    #Vaccine #Treatment

    Centre

    Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Prof Bernd Rehm
    Director
    b.rehm@griffith.edu.au
    +61 07 3735 4233
    Collaborations
    Luina Bio
  • Protecting frontline workers from COVID-19 June 2020

    Prof Bala Venkatesh, Director of the Intensive Care Unit at the Wesley Hospital is leading the "Protecting frontline workers from COVID-19" research project. The project, due for completion in July 2020, sets out to determine whether the safe, low-cost, orally available agent – hydroxychloroquine – will prevent COVID-19 infection in healthcare workers. HCQ has shown promising efficacy in preventing COVID-19 in previous research – but needs to be tested in a large multi-site clinical trial. Every day, front-line healthcare workers come face-to-face with COVID-19; putting their lives at risk in order to save others. In the 2003 SARS pandemic, healthcare workers accounted for 21% of global cases. This trial does not use hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, it is only being tested with healthy healthcare workers for preventative or prophylactic use.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Centre
    Wesley Medical Research

    Contact details
    Prof Bala Venkatesh
    Director of the Intensive Care Unit at The Wesley Hospital
    balasubramanian.venkatesh@uq.edu.au
    07 3721 1500
    Collaborations
    Partners: The George Institute for Global Health
  • Medical Engineering Research Facility part of national team of experts that joined forces to boost ventilator stocks April 2020

    QUT's Medical Engineering Research Facility has played a central role in bringing together researchers, engineers, medical specialists and industry to create new ventilators and other urgent medical equipment. The national team collaborated on developing the OzVader Ventilator project – a new Intermittent Mandatory Ventilator (IMV) design which could be used to treat ICU patients locally and globally. Leading intensive care specialists and respiratory experts from The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane and two Melbourne hospitals provided clinical guidance on the ventilator design.

    #PPE

    Centre

    Medical Engineering Research Facility
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Prof Cameron Brown
    Director
    cp.brown@qut.edu.au
    0434 606 973
    Collaborations
    • Co-Director Prof Roass Crawford
    • Collaborator:
    • Prince Charles Hospital
    • Centre for Biomedical Technologies
    • Olitek
    • Elexon
    • Titley Scientific
    • Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub
    • Narm Rubber
    • Austin Hospital - Melbourne
    • Epworth Hospitals - Melbourne
  • Queensland hospitals begin testing drugs in COVID-19 clinical trial April 2020

    Queensland hospitals (see collaborations) have started testing two potential treatments on patients with COVID-19 as part of an international clinical trial involving The University of Queensland. Patients admitted to participating Queensland hospitals after testing positive for the disease were involved in the Australasian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT) study, being led by the Doherty Institute in Melbourne. Queensland hospitals are working with researchers to help test the effectiveness of an HIV drug and a malaria medication for treating COVID-19 at 11 of the state’s hospitals and Wesley Medical Research. The Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital pharmacy is approved by the Therapeutics Goods Australia to undertake the packing and distribution of the ASCOT study investigational medications to hospitals across Australia and New Zealand. The randomised response adaptive trial will allow researchers to objectively assess whether patients who receive a specific treatment fare better, worse or the same as patients who receive a different therapy. The ASCOT trial involves 2500 patients at more than 70 hospitals, covering every state and territory of Australia, and 12 hospitals in New Zealand.

    #Clinical Trials

    Centre

    Centre for Clinical Research
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof David Paterson
    d.paterson1@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 334 66074
    Collaborations
    • Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital
    • Princess Alexandra Hospital
    • Caboolture Hospital
    • Cairns Hospital
    • Logan Hospital
    • Mackay Base Hospital
    • Mater Brisbane
    • Redcliffe Hospital
    • Sunshine Coast University Hospital
    • The Prince Charles Hospital
    • Townsville Hospital and Health Service
    • Wesley Medical Research
    • Trial lead: Peter Doherty Institute
    • Funders:
    • Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation
    • Australian Government
    • The Anthony Pratt Foundation
    • Wesley Medical Research
    • Minderoo Foundation
    • Health Research Council of New Zealand
    • Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies
  • Recovery ratios reliably anticipate COVID-19 pandemic progression April 2020

    COVID-19 has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, but a new predictor model devised at QUT offers glimmers of hope, suggesting the worst has passed and indicating well under 1000 deaths for Australia. The team at QUT, led by physician, mathematician and Future Fellow Dan Nicolau, has developed what they believe to be a more accurate model to predict the trajectory of the virus and its mortality, based on reliable, country-independent data. The predictions, updated daily, are available at covidwave.org and look at the ratio of known infections to recoveries in each country. The team then compared this ratio with the number of reported daily deaths in each country. This country-by-country breakdown also gives a big picture view, which shows that the world is currently in the middle of a second global wave of COVID-19, likely to last for some weeks. Remarkably, the data pattern is the same for most countries, including Australia.

    #Modelling

    Centre

    Science and Engineering Faculty, School of Mathematical Sciences
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    A/Prof Dan Nicolau
    Future Fellow, Science and Engineering Faculty
    dan.nicolau@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 5238
    Collaborations
    University of Oxford
  • QUT and Oxford researchers collaborate on new COVID-19 asthma drug trial July 2020

    QUT mathematician, physician and Australian Research Council Future Fellow, A/Prof. Dan Nicolau, is a lead researcher in the STOIC (STerOids In COVID-19) trial. A/Prof Nicolau and Prof. Bafahdel from University of Oxford had noticed early in the pandemic that people with asthma and the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were under-represented in the numbers of seriously ill COVID-19 patients. The STOIC trial is looking at whether asthma inhalers given to people with early stage COVID-19 can reduce progression of respiratory illness and cut emergency department presentations and hospital admissions. Prof. Nicolau and the QUT team will be coordinating trial data analysis, modelling of pathological mechanisms and building COVID-19 maths models to explain and use the clinical trial data to optimise patient treatment, while Prof. Mona Bafahdel will lead the clinical trial with about 500 patients. Some patients will be given the inexpensive, widely-prescribed inhaler medication corticosteroid budesonide that is used to prevent and control asthma symptoms, while others are given a placebo. Budesonide acts to reduce irritation and inflammation of the lungs and airways.

    #Data Science #Treatment

    Centre

    Science and Engineering Faculty, School of Mathematical Sciences
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    A/Prof Dan Nicolau
    Future Fellow, Science and Engineering Faculty
    dan.nicolau@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 5238
    Collaborations
    • Co-researchers: Alexander Hasson - QUT Honours student
    • Prof. Mona Bafahdel - University of Oxford
    • A/Prof. Dr Nabil Fadai - University of Nottingham
  • Global characterisation of COVID-19 June 2020

    Professor John Fraser is leading a global research study "COVID Critical - Global ICU Data Collection and Analysis to Better Understand and Treat Patients" involving more than 300 health centres across 49 countries. To date, there has been no real data on how best to care for COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, particularly the most vulnerable people. In this project, hospitals around the world will contribute critical care data about patients which will be analysed by Dr Fraser’s research team at the St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital (part of Wesley Medical Research) to identify the treatments that work best for different patients in different scenarios.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Centre
    Wesley Medical Research

    Contact details
    Prof John Fraser
    Director of the Intensive Care Unit, St Andrews Memorial Hospital
    fraser@wosic.com
    07 3834 4225
    Collaborations
    • Co-researcher: Associate Professsor Gianluigi Li Bassi
    • Partner: The Common Good
    • Pro-bono support: Amazon and IBM
  • The Long-term Impact of COVID-19 on survivors June 2020

    Evidence from the 2003 SARS outbreak indicates that COVID-19 could substantially affect the quality of life in survivors . This two-year study, led by Associate Professor Gianluigi Li Bassi, ICU Specialist, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital (part of Wesley Medical Research), will investigate the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the millions of people infected with the virus around the world, to understand their future medical care. The work by A/Prof Gianluigi Li Bassi aims to understand the impact of COVID-19 on health outcomes such as renal, pulmonary, liver and neurological dysfunction and general health-related quality of life.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Centre
    Wesley Medical Research

    Contact details
    Ass Prof Gianluigi Li Bassi
    ICU Specialist, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital
    g.libassi@uq.edu.au
    Collaborations
    Co-researcher: Prof John Fraser, Director ICU, St Andrews War Memorial Hospital
  • Environmental Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 using microbial source tracking May 2020

    The GU Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre is providing environmental surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 sequences in watersheds and sewage samples. The laboratory receives regular/routine water and wastewater samples from water utilities across Australia and NZ. Using the RNA sequences for SARS-CoV-2, the researchers apply microbial source tracking (MST) techniques to monitor for the sources of the virus in water sources and wastewater treatment systems.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    A/Prof Helen Stratton
    Discipline Head, Bioscience
    h.stratton@griffith.edu.au
    +61 (0)7 3735 5503
    Collaborations
    • Water Research Australia - ColoSSoS project
    • Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences
  • Developing a highly sensitive biosensor for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage May 2020

    Dr Ido Bar, a researcher at GU's Environmental Futures Research Institute, is proposing, subject to funding, to develop a highly sensitive biosensor for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in sewage.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Environmental Futures Research Institute
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Dr Ido Bar
    i.bar@griffith.edu.au
    +61 (0)7 3735 7292
  • Understanding driver safety within the COVID-19 pandemic environment May 2020

    Professor Jeremy Davey of the USC-MAIC Road Safety Collaboration Unit is undertaking a study of driver safety within the COVID-19 pandemic environment involving a suspension of random breath testing and diminished numbers of drivers on our roads. The USC Road Safety Research Collaboration was established as a strategic collaboration between the Queensland Government, the Motor Accident Insurance Commission and USC in 2018 to undertake research that will positively impact the lives and safety of Queenslanders.

    #Social sciences

    Centre

    USC-MAIC Road Safety Collaboration Unit
    University of Sunshine Coast

    Contact details
    Prof Jeremy Davey
    jdavey4@usc.edu.au
    Collaborations
    Motor Accident Insurance Commission
  • Preparation, anxiety and COVID-19 narratives for Children July 2020

    Previous work from researchers in this team has examined the effect of parental anxiety on the way parents prepare – or fail to prepare – their children for trauma or disaster. This USQ project will apply that understanding in the context of COVID-19 in Australia. By analysing public narratives of COVID-19 directed towards children, including television programs, advertisements, and stories, the project will consider the experience of trauma and its production of anxiety, growth or resilience in both parents and children. In this way, it seeks to understand appropriate coping narratives for children in a range of traumatic and disaster contexts.

    #Social sciences #Humanities

    Centre

    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Ass Prof Jessica Gildersleeve
    Ass Prof of English Literature
    Jessica.Gildersleeve@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 4631 1043
    Collaborations
    • India Bryce
    • Amy Mullens
    • Beata Batorowicz
    • Kirstie Daken
    • Barbara Ryan
  • Understanding social support and mental health and wellbeing impacts of COVID-19 June 2020

    This USQ study explores social media use during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the focus is on predictors of social media use, including personality traits, empathy, loneliness, copying styles, depression, stress, and anxiety, need to belong, and fear of COVID-19. The purpose of this project is to extend on previous studies that have examined factors linked to social media use, and exploring these individual differences in the current pandemic environment. Specifically, we are exploring frequency of social media use and how individuals use social media (e.g., antisocial or prosocial purposes).

    #Social sciences

    Centre

    Centre for Health Research
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Jessica Marrington
    Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology and Counselling
    Jessica.marrington@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 3812 6150
    Collaborations
  • Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on patients with reduced heart function June 2020

    Patients with reduced heart function may be particularly at risk as data indicates that severe COVID-19 infections can cause heart muscle damage and heart failure. Research led by Dr Rivers, a Cardiologist at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital (part of Wesley Medical Research), aims to find out why COVID-19 is of particular risk to people with heart issues. The project involves 100 patients with reduced heart function who are diagnosed with COVID-19. Using smartphone technology to avoid the need to attend healthcare facilities, the impact of COVID-19 infection on measured heart function and symptoms of heart failure will be monitored over a period of 6 months.

    #Diagnostics

    Centre

    COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Centre
    Wesley Medical Research

    Contact details
    Dr John Rivers
    Cardiologist at St Andrew’s Memorial Hospital
    jpr.epr@gmail.com
    07 3016 1111
  • Development and validation of a Raman spectroscopy assay for COVID-19 antigen detection in mucus. August 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled economies, forced lockdowns and infected millions and killed thousands globally. In collaboration with a number of partner organisations this Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by QUT's Dr Kristyan Guppy-Coles will develop and validate a rapid, highly-accurate, inexpensive method for detecting COVID-19 in body fluid via novel surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy.

    #Diagnostics

    Centre

    Science and Engineering Faculty
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Kristyan Guppy-Coles
    kristyan.guppycoles@qut.edu.au
    Collaborations
    • Metrohm
    • Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology
    • FLEW Solutions
  • The Longitudinal Adolescent Brain Study (LABS) now includes the potential influence of COVID-19 June 2020

    The Longitudinal Adolescent Brain Study (LABS) now includes the potential influence of COVID-19. The world-first, five-year research project at USC's Thompson Institute aims to better understand the adolescent brain. Using four-monthly brain imaging and neurocognitive assessments, the researcher work with young people to track changes that occur in the brain from ages 12-18. This research aims to inform the development of evidence-based youth mental health programs to support young people and their families and now includes questions related to COVID-19, to aid understanding of how youth mental health can be supported through impacts like spatial distancing and feelings of uncertainty. This long-term study is in a unique position to be able to investigate changes in adolescent brain development and mental wellbeing before, during and after the pandemic.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Sunshine Coast Mind & Neuroscience - Thompson Institute
    University of Sunshine Coast

    Contact details
    Dr Larisa McLoughlin
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Youth Mental Health
    lmclough@usc.edu.au
    +61 7 5456 3887
  • Six COVID-19 drug leads identified April 2020

    A team of international researchers, including some from UQ, has tested over 10,000 approved drugs, drug candidates in clinical trials and other compounds as potential leads for fighting COVID-19. The research involved a program of high-throughput drug screening, both in laboratories and using computer software to predict how different drugs bind to the virus. The main COVID-19 virus enzyme called main protease or Mpro, was targeted as it plays a pivotal role in viral replication and transcription – but as humans don’t carry this enzyme, drugs that target Mpro are likely to have low toxicity for people. Researchers identified six drugs that appear to effectively inhibit the enzyme, with one drug of particular interest. The results of the study have been published in Nature for researchers across the world.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof Luke Guddat
    luke.guddat@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 336 53549
    Collaborations
    • Project Leaders: ShanghaiTech University
    • Funders:
    • National Key R&D Programmes of China
    • Project of International Cooperation and Exchanges - National Natural Science Foundation of China
    • Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality
    • Department of Science and Technology of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
  • Covid-19 influences on tourists perceptions of health risks and travel destination choices September 2021

    This USQ research study aims to rigorously test a comprehensive model to assess health risk-related behaviours and travel destination choices of tourists during and following COVID-19. The study is based on a modified and expanded version of the Health Belief Model (HBM). It is hoped the modified model will be applicable to tourism and hospitality research in other health-related crises. The project involves an online questionnaire distributed to an international sample of potential tourists that will examine the relationship between psycho-social and psychometric constructs with an emphasis on their influence on consumer behavior and destination attractiveness - all critical to destination management during the recovery phases of health crises.

    #Business and economics

    Centre

    Institute for Resilient Regions
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Ass Prof Lynda Crowley-Cyr
    Ass Prof, School of Law and Justice
    Lynda.Crowley-Cyr@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 4687 5647
    Collaborations
    • Dr. Villy Abraham (Department of Technological Marketing, Sapir Academic College, Israel)
    • Mercedes Carreño (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and CENP Tourism School, Spain)
    • Dr. Kerstin Bremser (Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany)
    • Cote Moreno Martin (PhD student, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and Escuela Universitaria Felipe Moreno, Spain)
  • Using advanced ex vivo (outside the body) human respiratory system models to evaluate existing drugs to prevent or treat COVID-19 April 2020

    Professor von Itzstein AO and his research team at GU's Institute of Glycomics are using advanced ex vivo (outside the body) human respiratory system models to evaluate existing drugs, and combinations, as drug candidates to prevent or treat COVID-19. The team is working in collaboration with Queensland Health Departments including Gold Coast University Hospital clinicians and Forensic Scientific Services as well as the Fraunhofer International Consortium for Anti-infective Research (iCAIR). iCAIR was established between the Institute for Glycomics and two German institutions, the Hannover Medical University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine, in 2017.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    Institute for Glycomics
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Prof Mark von Itzstein
    Director
    m.vonitzstein@griffith.edu.au
    +61(0) 755527025
    Collaborations
  • Use of convalescent plasma in clinical trials for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 June 2020

    Australian research into the use of convalescent plasma in clinical trials for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 should be supported according to a leading immunologist from Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics. Professor Michael Good AO, a member of the National COVID-19 Health and Research Advisory Committee and chair of the working group on convalescent plasma therapy, said the working group’s conclusions included the active support of research into trials of convalescent plasma for treatment and prophylaxis. “Convalescent plasma therapy involves the transfusion of blood plasma collected from patients recovered from COVID-19. As they will have produced antibodies against the disease, the aim is to provide passive immunity in infected patients, as opposed to active immunity in patients that would be induced by a vaccine.” Said Professor Good. Convalescent plasma is not a new therapy and has been used and trialled in influenza, SARS-CoV-1 and Ebola infection, as well as in many established diseases such as diphtheria and tetanus.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Institute for Glycomics
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Prof Michael Good
    Principal Research Leader
    michael.good@griffith.edu.au
    +61 (0)7 5552 9435
  • Building on years of experience in streptococcus and malaria research to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. April 2020

    Professor Michael Good AO and his research team based within the Laboratory of Vaccines for the Developing World at GU's Institute For Glycomics, are building on many years of vaccine development experience in streptococcus and malaria research to identify critical target points on the coronavirus that may be susceptible to immune attack and to use that information to develop a highly focussed vaccine. The team are working closely with the other researchers in the Institute and with colleagues at the Gold Coast University Hospital and China’s Olymvax Biopharmaceuticals Inc.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    Institute for Glycomics
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Prof Michael Good
    Principal Research Leader
    michael.good@griffith.edu.au
    +6190)7 5552 9435
    Collaborations
  • Estimating the case detection rate and temporal variation in transmission of COVID-19 in Australia April 2020

    Working with researchers from the Peter Doherty Institute, the University of Melbourne and Curtin University, AITHM have been estimating the case detection rate and temporal variation in transmission of COVID-19 in Australia.

    Researchers at AITHM are writing important timely analyses of COVID-19, with an Australian perspective. These reports may be very valuable at time of publishing, but may have less value a month later, once peer review is completed.

    AITHM are therefore making all their preprint reports publically available.

    #Epidemiology

    Centre

    Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine
    James Cook University

    Contact details
    Dr Michael Meehan
    Research Fellow
    michael.meehan1@jcu.edu.au
    +61 7 478 14573
    Collaborations
    • The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
    • The Universityof Melbourne
    • Curtin University
  • Uncovering the early years literacy and numeracy learning experiences of children and their families during COVID-19 July 2020

    Members of the USQ Early Childhood Education team are undertaking a study to uncover learning experiences of children and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of the survey of Australian parents and children from prior to school and up to Year 2, will acknowledge the voices of both children and families and help to re-examine perceptions and thinking practices for future formal and informal home learning opportunities.

    #Social sciences #Education

    Centre

    School of Education
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Michele Wright
    Lecturer
    Michele.Wright@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 3470 4231
    Collaborations
  • MitoKhondrion: Decreasing COVID-19 mortality by increasing the functioning of our cell’s powerhouses. August 2020

    Protecting our most vulnerable from COVID-19 death is a prime medical priority. Kidney disease, often diabetes-caused, can contribute significantly to health complications in COVID-19 patients. Indeed 20-40% of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units suffer kidney failure. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Mitchell Sullivan with Mater Research aims to significantly improve COVID-19 survival rates by protecting kidneys using a novel approach with potentially broad application to coronavirus diseases.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Mater Research
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Mitchell Sullivan
    Mater Research Career Track Fellow
    mitchell.sullivan@mater.uq.edu.au
    Collaborations
    Mater Misericordiae Ltd
  • Stopping COVID-19 by targeting the viral replication. August 2020

    This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Mark Adams at QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation seeks to determine the effectiveness of a novel anti-SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 causing virus) candidate named DLSK02. DLSK02 is a first-in-class inhibitor of the SARS-CoV-2 replication complex. If the drug works, it will effectively stop the ability of the virus to replicate and survive.

    #Treatment

    Centre

    Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Mark Adams
    Strategic Research Fellow
    mn.adams@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3443 7324
    Collaborations
    CARP Pharmaceuticals
  • Monitoring local exercise patterns during covid: a longitudinal observation study linking outdoor activity and vitamin D synthesis June 2020

    This project led by Dr Nathan Downs at USQ will investigate multiple time series of personal outdoor activity for the period 2020 to 2021. Outdoor sunlight exposure periods will be measured using personal electronic sun journals. Exposure will be expressed with respect to the vitamin D action spectra for human skin. The project aims to understand how exercise, outdoor timing and vitamin D levels from solar radiation influence mood? This data will be compared to baseline data collected in late 2021. This data will be compared to baseline data collected in late 2021.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Centre for Health Research
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Nathan Downs
    Senior Lecturer (Mathematics)
    Nathan.Downs@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 4631 5521
    Collaborations
  • Despite safe and effective Phase 1 trial further trails of UQ COVID-19 vaccine halted December 2020

    While the Phase 1 trial of the University of Queensland and CSL COVID-19 vaccine has shown a robust and safe response towards the virus, the trial will not progress to Phase 2/3 clinical trials. There were no serious adverse events or safety concerns reported in the 216 trial participants.

    The leading research by the University of Queensland uses their signature Molecular Clamp Technology. This clamp employs a harmless tiny fragment of a protein on the HIV molecule - used to stabilise the vaccine.

    Trial participants were fully informed of the possibility of a partial immune response to this component, but it was unexpected that it would interfere with HIV tests. Unfortunately, the Phase 1 data showed that some participants produced antibodies showing a false positive test result for HIV. There is no possibility that the vaccine could causes HIV infection.

    With expert advice and recognising the vital need to maintain public confidence in the overall global COVID-19 vaccination program, UQ and CSL and the Australian Government agreed that vaccine development will not proceed to Phase 2/3 trials. The Phase 1 trial will continue to see how long the antibodies persist. The University of Queensland plans to submit the full data for peer review publication.

    Dr Andrew Nash, Chief Scientific Officer for CSL said “This project has only been made possible by the innovative science developed by world-class scientists at The University of Queensland and the strong collaboration between our organisations, and many others, over the past 10 months.” UQ and CSL acknowledge the support of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in partnering to enable the rapid development of the vaccine candidate through clinical trials.

    UQ vaccine co-lead, Professor Paul Young, said that although it was possible to re-engineer the vaccine, the team did not have the luxury of time needed. “I said at the start of vaccine development that there were no guarantees, but what is really encouraging is that the core technology approach we used has passed the major clinical test. It is a safe and well-tolerated vaccine, producing the strong virus-neutralising effect that we were hoping to see. So we will continue to push forward and we are confident that with further work the Molecular Clamp technology will be a robust platform for future vaccine development here in Australia and to meet future biosecurity needs.”

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof Paul Young
    p.young@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 336 54622
    Collaborations
  • Physical activity behaviours and mental health indicators of Australian adults during COVID–19 restrictions June 2020

    Professor Peter Terry and colleagues at USQ are working as part of a multinational study to assess the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on physical and mental wellbeing. The team have been monitoring physical and mental health indices during lockdown, via a one-off 20-min online survey relating to (a) demographics (b) reasons for exercising, (c) physical activity behaviours, and (d) mental wellbeing, before and during the COVID–19 lockdown. Approximately 4,000 individuals have participated, including 400 Australians.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Centre for Health Research
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof Peter Terry
    Dean Graduate Research School and Prof of Psychology
    Peter.Terry@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 4631 1681
    Collaborations
    • Co-researchers:
    • Associate Prof Victoria Terry
    • Dr Renee Parsons-Smith
    • Collaborators:
    • Prof Costas Karageorghis (Brunel University, London)
    • Dr Jonathan Bird (Exeter University, UK)
    • Prof Mark Hamer (University College London)
    • Dr Jasmin Hutchinson (Springfield College, USA)
    • University of Lille (France)
  • Monitoring mood responses as an indicator of mental health during COVID-19 restrictions July 2020

    Professor Peter Terry and his colleagues at USQ are focusing their ongoing work on mood profiling to examine the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on the moods of individuals. Data collection involves a one-off 3-min online mood measure known as the Brunel Mood Scale (BRUMS), gathered via the In The Mood website. Data gathered during the period of COVID-19 restrictions will be compared to pre-lockdown norms, which are based on the responses of 25,000 individuals. Just over 1,000 individuals participated in the current study.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Centre for Health Research
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof Peter Terry
    Dean Graduate Research School and Prof of Psychology
    Peter.Terry@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 4631 1681
    Collaborations
  • Ancient Australian plant may help in production of COVID-19 vaccine April 2020

    QUT researchers are embedded in an international team of scientists developing technologies to produce large amounts of low-cost vaccines. Professor Peter Waterhouse has developed a roadmap for biotechnologists who are turning to the new technique of producing antibodies, vaccines and therapeutics, in plants - biofactories. Plants can be grown in large amounts using simple agricultural technologies, that are within reach of developing countries that may lack sophisticated protein production methods. In this “molecular farming” discipline, biotechnologists can alter the DNA instructions in a plant to make it produce the antibody or vaccine in the cells and sap of its leaves and the plant does the rest. Professor Waterhouse said several international biotech companies have already been given fast-tracked access to the entire chromosome-level genome sequence of the Australian-native plant Nicotiana benthamiana. QUT have made this previously unpublished information available to any team working on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic to allow them to ‘tweak’ the genome to produce better quality vaccines and therapeutics. The plant is being used all over the world as the vaccine plant biofactory of choice and the genome sequencing has been led by Professor Waterhouse in partnership with the European Horizon 2020 Newcotiana consortium.

    #Bioeconomy

    Centre

    Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Prof Peter Waterhouse
    peter.waterhouse@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 7793
    Collaborations
    European Horizon 2020 Newcotiana consortium
  • The data science of COVID-19 vaccination September 2021

    This project, led by Professor Raja Jurdak, from QUT’s Trusted Networks Lab, is concerned with diffusion modelling on highly dynamic networks, to cover diffusion processes ranging from disease spread, the spread of computer viruses, or the diffusion of trust in a network.

    #Data Science

    Centre

    Trusted Networks Lab
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Prof Raja Jurdak
    r.jurdak@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 4249
    Collaborations
    • University of New South Wales
    • Johns Hopkins University
    • CSIRO
    • University of Melbourne
  • Social Media Analytics using machine learning algorithms to understand the mental health status as a result of COVID-19 lockdown July 2020

    COVID-19 has caused significant disruptions to normal life resulting in deteriorated physical and mental health. Medical professionals are struggling to handle the levels of mental trauma. Using sophisticated AI algorithms, this USQ project attempts to classify the mental health state of a person from numerical and textual data and fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Image) images of the brain. Numerical and textual data is collected through a simple survey. The primary goal of this research is to develop a model that aids the medical practitioners to analyse heterogeneous data from a wider population through a single affordable test to classify a patient’s mental state including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety, stress, depression, bipolar disorders and phobia pertaining to the context of COVID-19.

    #Data Science

    Centre

    Centre for Health Research
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof Raj Gururajan
    Raj.Gururajan@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 3470 4539
    Collaborations
    • Xiahui Tao (USQ)
    • Xujuan Zhou (USQ)
    • Rajendra Acharya (Singapore)
    • Revathi Venkataraman (India)
    • Dr Soman Elangovan (Belmont Private Hospital - Brisbane)
  • Using Artificial Intelligence to prioritise emergency calls for suicide prevention due to COVID-19 pandemic. August 2020

    Suicide rates in Australia could rise by 50% due to COVID-19. Emergency helplines receive many hoax calls, which waste valuable resources and risk lives. Genuine distress causes involuntary physiological changes in people's voices. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Rajib Rana from the University of Southern Queensland's School of Sciences will develop artificial intelligence algorithms to detect genuine distress in caller's voice. Enabling better service prioritisation, the project would save lives and conserve valuable resources.

    #Data Science

    Centre

    School of Sciences
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Rajib Rana
    Senior Lecturer (Computer Science)
    Rajib.Rana@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 3470 4234
    Collaborations
    • Metro North Mental Health Services
    • NetCare Holdings Pty Ltd
  • Co-parenting and care arrangements during Covid-19 July 2020

    Extending the research from the 'The Experiences of Separated Parents with the Schooling System', this project led by Dr Renee Desmarchelier at USQ, aims to understand the impact of Covid-19 restrictions and concerns on co-parenting arrangements of separated and divorced parents within the Australian Education system in order to inform policy and develop best practices.

    #Social sciences #Education

    Centre

    Institute for Resilient Regions
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Renee Desmarchelier
    Ass Dean Learning, Teaching and Student Success
    Renee.Desmarchelier@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 4631 2591
    Collaborations
  • COVID-19 - Reset and re-imagine your business July 2020

    This research project by USQ will evaluate the impact on women and their enterprises from their particition in the WiRE Reset and re-imagine your business COVID-19 economic recovery program. The WiRE (Women in Rural, Regional and Remote Enterprise) project enables project participants to re-design their business journey while starting and growing their business/venture. Funded by the Queensland Government, the program supports women business owners to take steps towards their business goals - reviewing, re-imagining, re-planning or rebuilding their business as a result of the current COVID-19 crisis. This program is an evidence-based program that enables rural, regional and remote women to achieve and lead in their chosen business ventures.

    #Business and economics

    Centre

    Institute for Resilient Regions
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Prof Retha Wiesner
    Retha.Wiesner@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 3470 4519
    Collaborations
    Funding: Queensland Government, Advancing Women in Business, Department of Employment, Small Business and Training.
  • Queensland Tourism Workforce Strategy V2: A crisis resilience and recovery plan. August 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified workforce vulnerabilities in Tourism. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by A/Prof. Richard Robinson from UQ School of Business will seek to find strategies for recovery and resilience through extensive consultation with industry stakeholders: employees, businesses and government and peak body associations. Project outcomes will include employee and business targeted toolkits to manage crisis’ impacts, and delivery of a Queensland Tourism Workforce Crisis Resilience and Recovery Plan.

    #Business and economics #Tourism

    Centre

    Business School
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    A/Prof Richard Robinson
    richard.robinson@business.uq.edu.au
    +61 7 334 67091
    Collaborations
    Queensland Tourism Industry Council
  • Supporting families with parental drug abuse and other issues during the COVID-19 crisis May 2020

    Professor Sharon Dawe and Associate Professor Paul Harnett at GU are working closely with frontline practitioners across the family support and child protection system to develop online delivery for PuP (Parents under Pressure Program) training. This is being trialled across May - July 2020, with 40 practitioners. Their feedback will inform further development of the Online training process. Dawe and Harnett have also adapted PuP program material to be made available Online for practitioners to use directly with families. This innovative strategy allows practitioners to work remotely with families, providing a tailored approach to families who may experience greater pressure as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    School of Applied Psychology
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Prof Sharon Dawe
    Prof in Clinical Psychology
    s.dawe@griffith.edu.au
    +61 (0)7 3735 3371
    Collaborations
    Co-researcher - Associate Prof Paul Harnett - Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Griffith University researchers on the road to COVID-19 vaccine April 2020

    Griffith University researchers have joined forces with scientists from Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), a leading vaccine manufacturing company based in Hyderabad, India to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. They aim to develop a live attenuated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine or COVID-19 vaccine using the latest codon de-optimisation technology (a method for producing live weakened virus vaccines). Using this technology, they will make changes to the virus’s genome to decrease replication efficiency in human cells and rendering it harmless. “This technology is promising for developing a live-attenuated vaccine for preventative, active, single dose immunisation against coronavirus in humans, with an enhanced safety profile,” said Professor Suresh Mahalingam from Menzies Health Institute Queensland. The aim is to produce a vaccine provide long-lasting immunity against SARS-CoV-2 following a single immunisation and cross-protection against other coronaviruses such as MERS and SARS-CoV-1.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ)
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Prof Suresh Mahalingam
    NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
    s.mahalingam@griffith.edu.au
    +61 7 5678 0664
    Collaborations
    Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL)
  • Economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism, hospitality, leisure and events industries. July 2020

    Dr Shahab Pourfakhimi at USC is extending his research on the tourism, hospitality, leisure and events industries to examine economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in these industries. He is particularly interested in investigating the effectiveness of post-crisis tourism recovery strategies, specifically from a regional tourism operators’ perspective. Shahab’s research interests generally involve studying consumer behaviour in tourism, hospitality and events, particularly the socio-psychological dimensions of tourists’ perceptions, choices and experiences.

    #Business and economics

    Centre

    USC Business School
    University of Sunshine Coast

    Contact details
    Dr Shahab Pourfakhimi
    Lecturer, Tourism, Leisure and Event Management
    spourfak@usc.edu.au
    +61 7 5456 5690
    Collaborations
  • The psychological impact of COVID-19 travel restriction on public sense of wellbeing August 2020

    This project led by Dr Shahab Pourfakhimi at USC aims to investigate the impact (including psychological impacts) of COVID-19 travel restrictions on public sense of wellbeing and quality of life.

    #Business and economics

    Centre

    USC Business School
    University of Sunshine Coast

    Contact details
    Dr Shahab Pourfakhimi
    Lecturer, Tourism, Leisure and Event Management
    spourfak@usc.edu.au
    +61 7 5456 5690
    Collaborations
  • Urban Design and Town Planning in response to COVID-19 June 2020

    This USC project offers a 'systems thinking' perspective to assist in the exploration and description of the impacts of COVID-19 on public spaces in Australia. The approach utilises Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems methodologies to examine activities that were restricted under lockdown, and how such restrictions affect system performance and community wellbeing. The project utilises a pre-COVID systems model of public space as a basis for exploring the necessary changes required when considering the requirements of social distancing for disease minimisation and mitigation. Such whole-of-system based perspectives of urban design and town planning permit a clearer interpretation and integration of global and national health priorities in the design and use of public space at the human scale.

    #Management #Social sciences

    Centre

    School of Social Sciences and Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems
    University of Sunshine Coast

    Contact details
    Dr Silvia Tavares
    Lecturer in Urban Design and Town Planning
    stavares@usc.edu.au
    07 5456 5884
    Collaborations
  • Mental Health Support in Rural and Remote Communities June 2020

    Suicide rates in Australia may increase as a result of COVID-19, as individuals battle the social and economic impacts of the virus. The impacts will be greatest among those who live in rural and regional Australia. There is an urgent need to ensure that mental health services are able to meet a dramatic increase in demand. In partnership with Wesley Medical Research, the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation will implement a pilot program for improved mental health services in the Bowen Basin. A pilot program will be developed after a comprehensive review of existing services in the region and provide a targeted response to the increased mental health issues arising due to COVID-19.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Australian Centre For Health Services Innovation (AusHSI)

    Contact details
    Prof Steven McPhail
    Academic Director, AusHSI
    steven.mcphail@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3406 2266
    Collaborations
    Partners - COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Centre, Wesley Medical Research
  • Banks have key role in preventing elder financial abuse as relatives experience COVID-19 economic stress July 2020

    Social isolation of vulnerable older people, financial pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic and “inheritance entitlement” have created a perfect storm for increased incidences of elder financial abuse says QUT Law researchers Associate Professor Tina Cockburn and Dr Kelly Purser. Elder financial abuse is often enabled by abuses of an enduring power of attorney document (EPA). An EPA enables someone to make financial decisions on behalf another person who has lost capacity. Cockburn and Purser's recent research helped define and quantify elder financial abuse under an EPA and noted that under the Australian Banking Code of Practice, banks have committed to training staff to act with sensitivity, respect and compassion towards vulnerable people. COVID-19 has also highlighted the need to be able to access valid will-making when traditional wills formalities have required a physical gathering of the will-maker and witnesses. Emergency interim changes to the law have facilitated will-making and the execution of enduring documents through the use of real-time virtual technologies in Queensland. Purser and Cockburn’s research explores the consequences of this as well as whether these emergency responses have a place in the ‘new normal’ post COVID-19.

    #Social sciences #Business and economics

    Centre

    Australian Centre for Health Law Research
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    A/Prof Tina Cockburn
    Co-director Australian Centre for Health Law Research
    t.cockburn@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 2003
    Collaborations
    • Co-researcher: Dr Kelly Purser – Co-Program leader, Planning for Healthy Ageing Research Program
    • Phone: +61 7 3138 5078
    • Email: k.purser@qut.edu.au
  • New virus-filtering mask material developed by QUT to be fast-tracked to market April 2020

    A new material, developed by QUT process engineer Dr Thomas Rainey and his research team, is very effective at removing particles smaller than 100 nanometres, the size range of virus droplets. The material is easier to breathe through than high-quality face masks including surgical masks which is important for people with existing respiratory issues. The mask can be quickly made in large quantities using simple equipment and is biodegradable. Made from agriculture and forestry waste material, it has been thoroughly tested and compared with high-quality commercially available masks. In a joint venture between QUT and Innovyz announced in July 2020, a new company - CelluAir, will work to scale up the technology to bring it to market as soon as possible.

    #PPE

    Centre

    Science and Engineering Faculty, School of Mechanical Medical & Process Engineering
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Thomas Rainey
    Coordinator
    t.rainey@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 1977
    Collaborations
  • Social connection in older Australians in regional Western Australia June 2020

    Social connection is a fundamental need. Location and other social factors may put older people in regional areas of Australia at increased risk of experiencing loneliness and social isolation. The unexpected onset of COVID-19 has imposed social isolation. An exploratory study was undertaken by USQ with participants who have high levels of social capital as active members of organised groups, and in staying in contact with family members, friends and neighbours. The findings around the effects of unexpected social isolation on older people, may inform future research and knowledge about successful ageing.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Centre for Health Research
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Tanya Machin
    Senior Lecturer (Psychology and Counselling)
    Tanya.Machin@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 4631 5576
    Collaborations
  • Technology and Telepressure: Transitions from face-to-face work environment to remote working conditions June 2020

    In response to COVID-19 many businesses and staff were required to very rapidly engage in remote work conditions. Technology was heavily relied upon to connect individuals and enable remote work in many different professions. Previous research indicates that reliance on technology within the workplace is linked to increased telepressure (a preoccupation or urge to respond to electronic communication) and consistent telepressure is linked to compromised productivity, work engagement and quality of work. This USQ study used Zoom interviews to explore the effects of technology within the home workplace and the associated telepressure and perceived short and long-term benefits and disadvantages. A better understanding of potential barriers facing employees working remotely and the contributing factors to experienced telepressure may allow for identification of successful strategies and approaches for minimising negative impacts on employees working remotely.

    #Mental health and wellbeing

    Centre

    Centre for Health Research
    University of Southern Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Tanya Machin
    Senior Lecturer (Psychology and Counselling)
    Tanya.Machin@usq.edu.au
    +61 7 4631 5576
    Collaborations
    Kyra Dawbarn (Honours Student - USQ)
  • Like a Virus: The Coordinated Spread of Coronavirus Disinformation June 2020

    This report for the Centre for Responsible Technology at the Australia Institute by Dr Timothy Graham and co-researcher at the QUT Digital Media Research Centre presents analysis of over 25.5 million tweets over 10 days identifies 5,752 accounts that coordinated 6,559 times to spread mis- and disinformation regarding the coronavirus for either commercial or political purposes. Almost all politically motivated activity promoted right wing governments or parties. Coordinated spreading of the China bioweapon conspiracy theory is estimated to have made over 5 million impressions on Twitter users, spread by mainly pro-Trump, partisan conservative and/or QAnon accounts.

    #Data Science #Social Media

    Centre

    Digital Media Research Centre
    Queensland University of Technology

    Contact details
    Dr Timothy Graham
    Senior Lecturer
    timothy.graham@qut.edu.au
    +61 7 3138 8187
    Collaborations
    • Co-researchers:
    • Prof. Axel Bruns
    • Guangnam Zhu - Digital Media Research Centre
    • Rod Campbell - The Australia Institute
  • Point-of-care diagnostic device incorporating microfluidic technology and electrochemical biosensing platform for COVID-19 detection. August 2020

    This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Yusuf Kaneti will develop a novel portable point-of-care diagnostic device for the rapid and sensitive detection of COVID-19 in non-clinical settings. This diagnostic device will incorporate microfluidic technology and a portable electrochemical biosensor to provide all-in-one function for isolation, purification, and detection of coronavirus RNA. The device will have the potential to accelerate COVID-19 testing in Queensland's regional areas.

    #Diagnostics

    Centre

    Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Yusuf Kaneti
    v.kaneti@uq.edu.au
    Collaborations
    AI Fluidics Pty Ltd
  • Developing on-line oxidation measurement for remote operation of coal mines during pandemic. August 2020

    Queensland coal production is disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic because many workers cannot go to mine sites due to travel restrictions, quarantines and physical distancing rules. This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship project led by Dr Xumeng Chen from UQ's School of Chemical Engineering will develop an on-line system to measure coal oxidation, a key parameter in coal processing, to assist remote operation of coal preparation plants, which will ensure stable coal production without compromising workers’ safety.

    #Management

    Centre

    School of Chemical Engineering
    The University of Queensland

    Contact details
    Dr Xumeng Chen
    Research Fellow Mineral Process Engineering
    x.chen7@uq.edu.au
    +61 7 334 69990
    Collaborations
    Australian Coal Research Limited
  • Atomistic simulation of the interaction between the spike protein of COVID-19 virus and the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 May 2020

    The strong binding of a protein (S-protein) on the surface of the COVID-19 virus to part of an enzyme (ACE2) in human cells present in the lungs (and arteries, heart, kidney, and intestines) leads to severe respiratory infection. Understanding of the interaction of this protein with this enzyme is essential for the drug/vaccine discovery for COVID-19. Based on recent cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) experiments, this project proposes to simulate the interface between the virus and human cells at the atomic level. The expected outcomes include the optimised atomic structures of the interface, identification of the driving force for binding, and developed principles for blocking the binding of the virus to human cells. Such information will be used to screen the molecule candidates with fusion inhibiting the potential for the development of drugs and vaccines for COVID-19.

    #Modelling

    Centre

    Environmental Futures Research Institute
    Griffith University

    Contact details
    Dr Yun Wang
    Senior Lecturer
    yun.wang@griffith.edu.au
    +61 (0)7 5552 8358
    Collaborations
  • UQ vaccine delivery spinout company achieves global deals on vaccine delivery technology October 2020

    The University of Queensland spinout company Vaxxas, that is developing technology based on UQ’s innovative research developed at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, has announced two partnerships that could revolutionise the manufacture and delivery of vaccines. The technology platform that allows vaccines to be administered via a small 1 centimetre squared patch with 5000 little projections that are invisible to the naked eye and prick the skin when applied.

    Merck, a world leader in vaccine development, will access Vaxxas’ HD-MAP technology for the development and manufacture of an undisclosed vaccine. Vaxxas has also announced that German manufacturing equipment maker Harro Höfliger will help Vaxxas develop a high-throughput, aseptic manufacturing line to make vaccine products based their technology — with a goal of eventually churning out millions of vaccine patches a week. In October it was announced that Vaxxas will partner with the US Government to test its needle-free vaccine delivery that could significantly reduce the need for vaccine refrigeration and storage technology.

    #Vaccine

    Centre

    Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
    The University of Queensland

Other Queensland COVID-19 initiatives

Life Sciences Queensland
Life Sciences Queensland joins the data-powered alliance to stop COVID-19
Queensland Government
Coronavirus (COVID-19) business assistance finder

Key Australian COVID-19 initiatives

Australian Academy of Science
Rapid Research Information Forum (RRIF)
COVID-19 Expert Database

Key international COVID-19 initiatives

CORD-19 (COVID-19 Open Research Dataset)
Free database of 130,000 plus COVID-19 open research papers