Around the Precinct – 6 August 2020

Researchers confirm the importance of a good sleep and flag more effective ways to identify those at risk of heart disease; COVID-19 research continues with new funding for immunity research, and clinical trials on antivirals and convalescent plasma; evidence shows that Melbourne’s COVID-19 restrictions are working; and your chance to get involved in clinical trials and special events; Here’s some of what has happened this week across the Alfred Research Alliance.


Alfred Research Alliance Student Information Night: 11 August, 2020

Alfred Research Alliance partners, Monash University’s Central Clinical School and School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, together with Burnet Institute and Baker Institute, will host an information evening next Tuesday 11 August, for anyone interested in undertaking Honours and graduate research study in 2021 at the Alfred precinct. See the excellent program of expert speakers and full event details here.


A Good Night’s Sleep is More Important Than Ever

Melbournians are being urged to keep up their regular exercise to ensure they maintain a good night’s sleep during the pandemic. Sleep researcher at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Dr Stephanie Yiallourou says the rising anxiety levels and changes in daily work habits driven by COVID-19 may cause sleep problems. As well as being associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms, poor sleep can increase  increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Read more here and access Baker’s “Keep it Moving” resources here.

Improving Heart Health Checks in Families with a History of Premature CVD

A new study authored by Baker Institute Director, Prof Tom Marwick and published in the MJA this week, demonstrates the benefit of considering inclusion of a coronary calcium risk score (CCS) in ‘Heart Health Checks’. Prof Marwick says this may help prevent heart disease in people with a family history of the disease by helping identify – and proactively treat – those at greater risk, while avoiding treatment in those with little to no risk. Read more…


Clinical Trials Now Recruiting – COVID-19 Vaccines & More

Nucleus Network is now recruiting for Melbourne-based Phase 1 clinical trials across a wide range of trials including multiple COVID-19 vaccines. Participants must be healthy & will be reimbursed up to $360 a day for their time. This is a great opportunity to contribute to medical research. To find out more about clinical trials recruiting in Melbourne, and take the 2-minute quiz to see if you’re eligible, click here…


New Funding for COVID-19 Immunity Research

A Burnet Institute project to develop a point-of-care assay that can measure current or past infection for COVID-19, along with potential immunity to future infections, will share in AUD$5.5 million worth of funding from the Victorian Government. The project – led by Burnet Deputy Director, A/Prof David Anderson, in collaboration with The Doherty Institute’s Prof Dale Godfrey, Prof Damian Purcell and Prof Deborah Williamson – will allow researchers to gain a better picture of COVID-19 immunity in humans. Read more…

Victorian Restrictions Avert Tens of Thousands of New COVID Infections

New Burnet Institute research published in pre-print in the Medical Journal of Australia shows the timely introduction of Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria averted tens of thousands of new infections across the state throughout July. But the authors, including Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC, stress that much more will be needed to achieve the further 14% reduction in transmission required to control the epidemic. Read more…

Funding for Homeless Welcomed

Burnet Institute welcomed this week’s Victorian Government announcement of a further $150M to support Victorians in unstable housing through the COVID-19 pandemic. Burnet’s Prof Paul Dietze said the funding was a “really positive step” which would not only help prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 among vulnerable Victorians but also help fight several other health conditions.. Read more…


SPECIAL EVENT: From the Frontline – Clinical Impacts of COVID-19: 12 August, 2020

On Wednesday 12 August, 6 – 7.30pm, Monash Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences will present From the frontline: Clinical impacts of COVID19. The online event will explore the impact COVID-19 has had on healthcare and what the ‘new normal’ will look like, post-pandemic. A panel of expert clinician-researchers  will discuss their COVID-19 research, focuse areas, and how these will impact the community. All welcome. Read more and register here…


Seeking People with COVID-19 to Participate in Antiviral Study

Researchers at The Alfred and Monash University CCS are working together to determine whether an antiviral medication that has previously been studied in people with the ‘flu and other viral infections might help people recover faster from COVID-19. The antiviral, Favipiravir, is now the subject of the VIRCO trial, which began last week, and is currently looking for people who have tested positive to COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms, in the first five days of their illness. Find out more…


REMAP-CAP Trial for Critically-ill COVID-19 Patients

Some of Australia’s most seriously ill COVID-19 patients will soon be treated with plasma donated by people who have fully recovered from the infection. It is hoped their plasma, rich in antibodies targeting the underlying SARS-CoV-2 virus, may be an effective treatment for critically-ill patients battling the disease. REMAP-CAP is an Australian-led global adaptive trial investigating multiple treatments, including convalescent plasma, for COVID-19 among patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Find out more…