Global Health Diagnostics Development Group

Head: Associate Professor David Anderson

Overview

COVID-19 represents an unprecedented health and economic challenge.

Our Group is developing a rapid point-of-care test to identify people who have been infected with COVID-19 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.

Accurate diagnostic techniques are a cornerstone of the control and management of both infectious and non-infectious diseases. Tests for most diseases that are prevalent in developed countries are well established in clinical laboratories.

This is not the case in disadvantaged populations (such as indigenous communities and those in developing countries), where access to laboratory infrastructure, sample transport, and communication are often lacking. This hampers efforts to control the impact and spread of disease, and is a major source of inequity in health outcomes.

Our laboratory has been active in the development of rapid, point-of-care (RPOC) tests for diagnosis of a number of infectious diseases, and more recently in tests for improved patient management in the case of HIV and AIDS, viral hepatitis and liver disease, and other conditions in Africa and other resource-poor settings.

We work closely with Industry partners to achieve commercially available and sustainable diagnostic solutions, including Omega Diagnostics, UK (CD4 tests); Burnet spinoff, Nanjing BioPoint Diagnostic Technology Co. Ltd., PR China (ALT1 test, plasma separator, and others); and Axxin Ltd, Melbourne (instruments and design capability).

We also work closely with international partners, and with other working groups across the Institute, to progress R&D on new diagnostics in malaria, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and other diseases.

Objectives

New projects are focused on infectious disease agents and disease biomarkers.

Major techniques employed in laboratory

  • Standard serological testing methods (ELISA)
  • Protein expression (transfection of mammalian cells)
  • Protein characterisation and purification (western immunoblotting, chromatography)
  • Iterative RPOC assay development and evaluation (screening of reagents, assembly of prototype devices with different parameters, testing of disease and control sera)
  • Assembly of prototypes and validation testing in laboratory and field settings.

Highlights

  • Development of VISITECT® CD4 POC test with Burnet’s Professor Suzanne Crowe AM and collaborators.

Projects

  • A novel biomarker for gut leakage as a diagnostic tool for HIV disease progression

  • Access Point Of Care Initiative

  • Development of a point-of-care test for neonatal sepsis

  • Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) Deficiency

  • Improved point-of-care test to eliminate congenital syphilis

  • Methods for improved sensitivity of lateral flow tests

  • Novel reagents for the serological diagnosis of tuberculosis

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

Staff Members

  • Doctor Berhan Ayele  Haile

    Doctor Berhan Ayele Haile
    Research Officer

  • Associate Professor David  Anderson

    Associate Professor David Anderson
    Deputy Director (Partnerships), Burnet Institute; Co-Head, Global Health Diagnostics Development

  • Doctor Helen  Zihui Wei

    Doctor Helen Zihui Wei
    Research Officer

  • Huy Van

    Huy Van
    Senior Development Scientist, Global Health Diagnostics

  • Doctor Julian Elliott

    Doctor Julian Elliott
    HIV Clinical Advisor

  • Khayriyyah  Mohd Hanafiah

    Khayriyyah Mohd Hanafiah

  • Doctor Minh Duc Pham

    Doctor Minh Duc Pham
    Senior Research Officer

  • Doctor Riya Palchaudhuri

    Doctor Riya Palchaudhuri
    Postdoctoral Research Scientist

  • Shuning  Zheng

    Shuning Zheng
    Research Assistant