• Five diverse research projects covering COVID-19, HIV, hepatitis C elimination, CAR T cell therapy and fungal infections are the 2021 recipients of the Gilead Research Fellowship.
• Now in its 11th year, the scholarship has awarded more than $ 2.6 million to research projects across Australia that often struggle to secure funding or face stiff competition.
Melbourne, June 29, 2021 – Gilead Sciences Australia today announced the five recipients of the 2021 Gilead Fellowship program, one of whom will study the medium and long term impacts of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing -being patients.
Grant recipient Professor Kumar Visvanathan, infectious disease physician, academic head of medicine at the University of Melbourne campus and co-director of the Immunology Research Center at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, will follow closely. of 100 people confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 over a six-month period. period to examine the impact of COVID-19 on their immunological response and any residual symptoms they may have had.
St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne was one of the hospitals treating COVID-19 patients during the Melbourne outbreak in 2020, with Professor Visvanathan being one of the hospital’s treating clinicians.
“Funding for the 2021 Gilead Scholarship means that we may be able to answer some important questions about how long a patient’s immunological response to COVID-19 after infection, but also to other infectious diseases. and the broader impacts it can have on long-term health. “said Professor Visvanathan.
“We still have a lot to learn about this virus and natural immunity after infection, and this is especially important as we roll out vaccines and begin to measure the sustainability of protection. We are also studying whether there is an impact of COVID-19 on our immune response by testing immune responses to past vaccinations such as mumps and measles and more broadly the physical and psychological impact on a person’s quality of life. patient. “
The Kirby Institute project led by Dr. Benjamin Bavinton, Principal Investigator and Group Leader, Biobehavioural Prevention Research Group, HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Program, will assess the effect of changes in clinical practice HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic on testing, surveillance and care. people living with HIV in Australia with the future goal of sharing best practices.
“The COVID-19 environment has led to rapid and innovative clinical responses to the care of people living with HIV and the provision of sexual health services. This project will assess these clinical practices through qualitative interviews with HIV and sexual health service providers as well as a patient survey so that successful adaptations can inform future models of care, ”said Dr Bavinton. .
A total of $ 300,000 has been distributed among the five grantees, which also include projects to increase the use of hepatitis C virus treatment in people who inject drugs, to understand how to make it work. cancer-killing CAR T cells for longer and to determine resistance levels of Aspergillus fumigatus to optimize screening and treatment strategies for fungal infections associated with chronic lung disease or lung transplantation.
Dr Paul Slade, Senior Director of Medical Affairs at Gilead Sciences ANZ, said: “The Australian research and clinical community has been at the forefront of informing and shaping best practice in patient care. . However, there is also growing competition for limited funding, which has been especially true in the COVID-19 environment. Gilead is proud to continue to provide ongoing local scientific investigation and research opportunities to support patient outcomes.
“This year’s scholarship recipients are implementing innovative projects across Australia that aim to clarify some serious areas of uncertainty, such as the impact of COVID-19, and ultimately support the improved healthcare for patients here in Australia and around the world. . “
Now in its 11th year, the scholarship has awarded more than $ 2.6 million to research projects across Australia. The scholarship strives to help close the gap in Australian research funding and support local community-driven projects.
Applications are now open for the Gilead Sciences Australia 2022 Fellowship Program with
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