COVID-19 changed the world in a matter of months. As society slowly crawls back to a sense of normalcy, we’ve realised some things will never be the same again. The immediate concern is a medical one and how we can ensure the safety of our communities. And so, the burning question remains: where to from here?
Monash University academics working at the forefront of the medical response to COVID-19 discussed how the world moves forward earlier this evening in a special live-streamed event: A Different Lens Live.
From vaccine development and public health policy, to the future of healthcare and the importance of research in shaping tomorrow, this 45-minute interactive experience, including a Q&A session, will explore some of the key issues facing the post-pandemic world.
Associate Professor Meredith O’Keeffe, Immunologist. NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Laboratory of Dendritic Cell Driven Immunity in Health and Disease.
Associate Professor O’Keeffe discussed what we don’t know about the virus, and why we need to find out the answers. The chances of finding an effective vaccine, the effectiveness of the COVID-19 testing regime, easing restrictions and opening schools, prioritising who to treat, and the importance of COVID-19 research as the world rebuilds.
Professor Turner discussed why finding a vaccine is problematic, why pouring funding into vaccine research is vital, and concerns that building natural immunity to the virus will not be enough to stop it. He believes the infection rate has been underestimated by 10 – 20 fold, that we need to be careful about loosening restrictions too quickly, and the lessons we have learnt from this pandemic.
Associate Professor Mireille Lahoud, Medical Researcher, Immunologist and Molecular Biologist.
Associate Professor Lahoud is working on platform technology that would enable a vaccine to be delivered directly to the important cells. She said it’s like “addressing an envelope”. Work has already been done on approaches to the flu and cancer immunotherapy, and they’re now looking to focus on COVID-19.
Dr Kylie Wagstaff, Medical Researcher, a National Breast Cancer Foundation Career Development Fellow, and Head, Cancer Targeting and Nuclear Therapeutics Laboratory.
Dr Wagstaff is leading a Monash study that has shown an anti-parasitic drug already available around the world can kill COVID-19 in a cell culture within 48 hours. She discussed where her study is at, why Ivermectin is worth investigating as an anti-viral candidate for COVID-19, and why we might need more than one cure for the virus.
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