Burnet Antiviral Testing Facility


The Burnet Antiviral Testing Facility has the capacity to evaluate chemical agents for inhibitory activity against HIV and herpes simplex (HSV) type 1 and 2 viruses in cell culture assays.

This enables the development of new candidate molecules that may lead to better treatments and/or prophylactics for these chronic viral infections.

All work undertaken by the facility uses principles outlined in the FDA guidelines for Antiviral Product Development.


  • The facility staff have extensive experience in basic research, particularly in understanding the retrovirus biology.
  • The facility works exclusively using principles outlined in the FDA guidelines for antiviral product development.


  • Screening compounds for activity against a laboratory strain of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in cell culture-based assays.
  • Assays include:
    • Determination of selectivity index (SI) of compounds (SI= 50% effective concentration/ 50% cytotoxic concentration)
    • Evaluating activity of compounds against different HIV strains including different HIV subtypes and clinical isolates in cell lines and in primary cells
    • Evaluating mechanism of action of HIV inhibitors including determining the ability of compounds to inhibit HIV-1 reverse transcriptase activity using recombinant enzymes including wild-type and a panel of drug-resistant mutants
    • Selection and characterisation of drug resistant strains of HIV in cell culture
    • Evaluating antiviral activity in cell culture assays in the presence of serum, seminal plasma, cervicovaginal fluid
    • Screening of compounds for activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2 in cell culture assays including determination of selectivity index (SI) of compounds.


  • Physical Containment level 3 (PC3) facility to enable safe working with biological hazardous materials including HIV.
  • Physical Containment level 2 (PC2) facility for work not involving HIV propagation
  • Class II Biosafety cabinets, CO2 incubators, ultracentrifuges, inverted microscopes, Clariostar multifunction microplate reader
  • Operates in compliance with Australian biosecurity regulations

Access and Contact

Access to the facility is either via collaborative research or as a fee for service arrangement. Relevant training to support operational compliance to all necessary regulations and guidelines must be undertaken prior to access being granted. For general research enquiries contact:

Prof Gilda Tachedjian
Head, Life Sciences
Burnet Institute
[email protected]