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.
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.
Development of VISITECT® CD4 POC test with Burnet’s Professor Suzanne Crowe AM and collaborators.
Improved point-of-care test to eliminate congenital syphilis
Methods for improved sensitivity of lateral flow tests
Novel PoC Testing for Diagnosis of Active Syphilis in Pregnant Women and Infants in Fiji
Novel reagents for the serological diagnosis of tuberculosis
The Optimise Study: Optimising Isolation, Quarantine and Distancing for COVID-19
Associate Professor David Anderson
Deputy Director (Partnerships), Burnet Institute; Chief Scientific Officer, Burnet Diagnostics Initiative
Professor Heidi E Drummer
Program Director, Disease Elimination; Scientific Director, Burnet Diagnostics Initiative; Head, Global Health Diagnostics Development Laboratory; Co-Head, Drummer/Poumbourios Laboratory
Doctor Helen Zihui Wei
Senior Development Scientist, Global Health Diagnostics
Doctor Julian Elliott
HIV Clinical Advisor
Khayriyyah Mohd Hanafiah
Doctor Khayriyyah (Kye) Mohd Hanafiah
Senior Research Officer
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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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