The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

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Woolcock Scientists Innovate & Collaborate to Fight COVID-19

Woolcock Scientists Innovate & Collaborate to Fight COVID-19

Friday, April 24, 2020

Update 13 April 2021: See an update on our COVID-19 research work

As the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic becomes increasingly urgent, Woolcock researchers remain dedicated to finding innovative new ways to prevent and treat the deadly virus.

Our dedicated lung and virus researchers who have an in-depth knowledge of transmission, testing and response to the outbreak are driving multiple local, national and international collaborations aimed at flattening the curve and reducing rates of infection. Several of our major projects are in collaboration with the Centenary Institute. We also have collaborators at Sydney Local Health district (SLHD), the University of Sydney, St Vincent’s Hospital, UNSW and UTS.

Here are some of the COVID-19-related research grant applications which are currently underway -

Helping protect hospital staff from particles of COVID-19 spread from ventilators

Professor Brian Oliver, Head of the Woolcock’s Respiratory Molecular Pathogenesis Group, has launched this project in collaboration with UNSW.  It aims to keep healthcare workers safe by understanding how the supply of oxygen aerosolizes the virus.

Finding novel ways to treat COVID-19 by altering the way in which the virus hijacks the cell

The Woolcock is collaborating with Sydney-based biotechnology company GenieUs on this project. Another project, involving Dutch researchers, is investigating which genes are turned on and off during a viral attack. 

Establishing a platform for a series of community-based trials of treatments for the virus

Professor Guy Marks, Head of the Woolcock’s Respiratory and Environmental Epidemiology Group, is leading this project which will expand over time to link to projects across the nation and internationally, in the UK and New Zealand.

Projects looking at the immune response in patients, contacts and healthcare workers

Woolcock epidemiologist Associate Professor Greg Fox (also at the University of Sydney and SLHD) has been working on COVID-19 modelling in collaboration with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He is also leading a project to study COVID-19 in Vietnam, where the Woolcock has an established research base.

Developing novel COVID-19 therapies for the upper and lower respiratory tract; Investigating how to ‘Cap’ COVID-19 to ‘cloak’ this virus, making it ineffective

Professor Paul Young, Professor Daniela Traini and Dr Hui Xin Ong from the Respiratory Technology group, Woolcock and the University of Sydney are collaborating with colleagues from the University, a number of international pharmaceutical companies as well as with Canadian researchers.

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