Report 6: Gendered differences in COVID-19 responses
Past Optimise Reports
The Optimise Study: Optimising Isolation, Quarantine and Distancing for COVID-19
The Optimise Study is a research project led by Burnet Institute and Doherty Institute, that aims to find out how Victorians are experiencing COVID-19 and responding to the measures introduced to stop the spread of the virus.
The information gathered in this research project will help guide Victoria’s approach to COVID-19, both to prevent new infections and to reduce the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19 restriction and prevention measures.
The study is focused on two key intervention methods to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 virus – isolation/quarantine and physical distancing.
The below animation, which shows the speed and far reach of the spread of COVID-19 across greater Melbourne in 2020, highlights the need for populations to practice physical distancing and follow isolation/quarantine orders.
Collect strategic information
Understand compliance and adherence with social isolation, quarantine and physical distancing
Determine key factors affecting cooperation with social and physical distancing measures, including health, social, structural and economic factors
Assess unintended consequences of isolation and distancing measures on key vulnerable groups and among the general population
Identify vulnerable populations for whom sustaining self-isolation is more difficult or who are disproportionately affected
Measure social contacts and mixing patterns to inform transmission modelling and assess if key groups or individuals are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection
Inform national policy and practice
Inform government strategy to release the population from the current “lock down” in a precise and informed way, that mitigates the risk of a flare up of new infections
Improve messaging and to enhance comprehension, acceptability and cooperation with Government guidance and interventions
Test the feasibility and acceptability of emerging strategies for COVID-19 testing such as point-of-care tests, home-based testing and antibody testing
Develop strategies to support highly vulnerable populations to reduce their risk of infection and limit unintended consequences
Report to the State and Federal Government through regular reports on compliance, key factors affecting compliance, and mechanisms to improve compliance
Understand and predict through mathematical models
Develop dynamic precision agent based mathematical models, utilising empirical data from the Optimise Study to inform and test strategic, such as the timing of the government’s release and restore strategies and the impact of various testing strategies,
“Critically over the next 12 months of the response, it is highly likely that there will be no effective vaccine and no effective drug treatments to control the COVID19 epidemic. The global response will need to rely on a combination of public health interventions, combined with thoughtful use of diagnostic testing and key support strategies,” Burnet Deputy Director Professor Margaret Hellard AM said.
Evidence from the Optimise Study will also assist community organisations and key health service groups in restoring economic activity and recreational activities whilst keeping new infections of COVID-19 at a low level. This involves real-time testing of key interventions to allow global scaling at speed.
Principal Investigators and Co-chairs
Professor Margaret Hellard AM
Dr Katherine Gibney
Professor Margaret Hellard AM – Principal Investigator
Dr Alisa Pedrana – Chief Investigator & Working Group Lead
Dr Nick Scott – Chief Investigator & Working Group Lead
Professor Mark Stoove – Chief Investigator & Working Group Lead
Dr Angela Davis – Chief Investigator
Associate Professor Joseph Doyle – Chief Investigator
Dr Rachel Sacks Davis – Chief Investigator
Professor David Wilson – Chief Investigator
Dr Anna Wilkinson
Dr Katherine Heath
Dr Jack Wallace
Dr Shelley Walker
Dr Megan Lim
Professor Caroline Homer AO
Associate Professor David Anderson
Associate Professor Josh Vogel
Dr Minh Pham
Dr Suman Majumdar
Dr Alyce Wilson
Dr Katherine Gibney – Principal Investigator & Working Group Lead
Professor Jodie McVernon – Advisory Committee
Dr Nicole Allard
Dr Simon Graham
Dr David Price
Professor Lisa Gibbs – Chief Investigator & Working Group Lead
Dr Freya Shearer – Chief Investigator
Dr Nic Geard – Chief Investigator
Professor Nancy Baxter – Advisory Committee
Dr Cameron Zachreson
Professor Deborah Williamson
Associate Professor Jonathan Liberman
Dr Karen Block
Dr Jane Oliver
Dr Meghan Bohren
Professor Lena Sanci
Professor Dean Lusher – Chief Investigator
Dr Peng Wang
Dr Sophie Hill – Chief Investigator
Dr Bronwen Merner
Dr Rebecca Ryan
Professor Alex Collie – Chief Investigator
Professor Allen Cheng
Professor Sally Green
Victorian Department of Health & Human Services
Victorian Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton – Advisory Committee
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Burnet Institute (Australia) is located on the traditional land of the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri people and we offer our respects to the elders past and present. We recognise and respect the cultural heritage of this land.
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