COVID-19 Research Projects

Burnet's innovative and evidence-based public health and laboratory-based COVID-19 research initiatives are contributing to solutions to the global pandemic. Scroll for a full list.

Since the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic, Burnet has been proactively contributing to the response through public health and laboratory-based research, advocacy and in the provision of high-level advice to State and Federal governments.

The Institute’s key programs - Disease Elimination, Behaviours and Health Risks, Health Security, and Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health - are home to researchers with significant expertise and longstanding collaborations and networks that are critical to the local, national and global response to COVID-19.

Burnet’s expertise in virology, rapid diagnostics, and in assessing and developing antiviral agents is well recognised internationally. Combined with our public health expertise in epidemiology, modelling, disease elimination and understanding human behaviours, Burnet is well positioned to provide a significant ongoing contribution to the COVID-19 response in Australia and overseas.

In addition, 360biolabs (a Burnet majority owned Contract Research Organisation) is Australia’s first commercially focused ISO accredited laboratory to offer virology and immunology testing for COVID-19 vaccine development, and laboratory testing of new antivirals and biologics.

Another Burnet spinoff company, Nanjing BioPoint Diagnostics Technology, will supporting proof-of-concept and validation studies for rapid point-of-care diagnostics for COVID-19 being developed at Burnet.

Our efforts are focused on how we can pivot our resources and expertise to support the Australian and global research and public health efforts.


Burnet’s Viral Entry and Vaccines Group led by Professor Heidi Drummer and Dr Andy Poumbourios is developing and evaluating novel candidate vaccine antigens and serological assays to understand the immune response to COVID-19 in humans.


Our Global Health Diagnostic Development Group, led by Associate Professor David Anderson, is developing a rapid point-of-care test to identify people who have been infected and cleared the virus enabling them to safely return to work post-infection. This will be critical for key services, in particular the health sector who are disproportionately exposed to infection.

Bringing together some of Australia’s smartest minds, Burnet is also co-leading a Victorian Consortium, with Doherty Institute, to lead a collaborative research approach to tackling COVID-19. Start-up funding provided by the Victorian State Government is recognition of the many decades which we have been building capacity, the complementary nature of each institute’s technical expertise, and the unique role we can play in the response to this virus.


Professor Margaret Hellard AM, is leading Burnet’s COVID-19 Public Health and Social Impact research. Current priorities include a series of studies to:

  • Assess how to reduce ongoing transmission of COVID-19.
  • Assess the impact of the broader social and economic impact of the mitigation efforts (including self-isolation) introduced by the government and identify ways to reduce negative consequences of these mitigation efforts.


While we possess the technical capacity and have received initial funding we are reaching out to the philanthropic sector to boost funding to accelerate research into life saving outcomes.

We are seeking general donations to the Burnet Institute COVID-19 Research Program. This will give us the flexibility to adapt our research focus to where we see the greatest opportunity for impact.

Your support will ensure we have the capacity to meet the immediate and longer-term challenges of the social, economic and health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Donate today!

Contact Details

Professor Margaret Hellard AM

Deputy Director, Programs; Adjunct Professor, Monash University, DEPM.





  • ACE2 inhibitors for treatment of COVID-19

  • Age-related immune dysfunction may underpin poor COVID-19 outcomes in the elderly

  • Antenatal and postnatal care remote contacts guidance

  • Anti-COVID-19 biological drugs for prevention and treatment

  • Coping with COVID-19: Young people’s health and wellbeing in Australia

  • COVASIM: Modelling COVID-19

  • COVID-19 antigens for PoC test development

  • COVID-19 Healthcare E-Learning Platform (CoHELP)

  • COVID-19 Journey Project

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Development

  • Experiences of receiving or providing maternity care during CoVID-19 pandemic: The CovMat Study

  • Feasibility study for a potential medically supervised injecting centre/drug consumption service for the ACT

  • Mapping of COVID-19-related pregnancy and perinatal research in Australia

  • National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce

  • Neutralising antibody assays for COVID-19

  • Optimising Quarantine Study

  • Rapid review of maternal health recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • SCOOP: Strengthening COVID-19 Communication in Pregnancy

  • STRIVE PNG: Stronger Surveillance and Systems Support for Rapid Identification and Containment of Resurgent or Resistant Vector-Borne Pathogens in Papua New Guinea

  • SuperMIX: The Melbourne Injecting Drug User Cohort Study

  • The Optimise Study: Optimising Isolation, Quarantine and Distancing for COVID-19

  • VOICE - Victorian Online Initiative for Community Engagement

  • West Sepik Covid-19 Vaccination Advocacy Project