The George Institute joins the fight against COVID-19

The George Institute joins the fight against COVID-19

As Australia’s governments and health systems grapple with the current health crisis, The George Institute is mobilising its talented researchers and other skilled staff to contribute to the collective response effort.

The Institute has a number of researchers who are also in clinical practice and we are actively supporting them to adjust their workload so they have more time available to spend in the health service where they are needed most.

In terms of research projects, we are supporting the Head of our Respiratory Program Professor Christine Jenkins in her role as Respiratory Specialist at Concord Hospital in Sydney to participate in a multicentre trial comparing antiviral and antimalarial drugs with standard care in people with COVID-19.

The Institute’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program team are working with communities and Aboriginal health organisations around culturally appropriate COVID-19 messaging and crisis response.

Our Honorary Professorial Fellow, Richard Lindley, a clinical academic and geriatrician at Blacktown Hospital, Western Sydney Local Health District, is part of a large team working with the Western Sydney Centre for Population Health to track the burden of viral diseases in aged care facilities in the west of Sydney. The study is looking at attack rate, hospitalisation, and death rates of viral respiratory infection outbreaks in adults aged over 65 years in these facilities. As this study has been running for a few years, it is now ideally placed to immediately track the COVID-19 pandemic in these facilities.

Meanwhile, many of our researchers have been working hard designing and supporting a range of research projects and submitting proposals to help further our understanding of COVID-19, particularly as it relates to other chronic diseases.

Recognising that the COVID-19 pandemic will require a large and ongoing research response as new treatments and vaccines are developed, we are also working to establish a registry of people who want to be involved in this vital research.

In the meantime, we are asking our George Institute experts, such as Prof Jenkins and Prof Alta Schutte, President of the International Society of Hypertension, to comment on topics pertinent to the particular risks for people with conditions like asthma and high blood pressure.

In addition, we are in ongoing discussions with NSW Health regarding the potential secondment of our talented staff to help boost their capacity as they respond to rapidly changing needs.

As the nation adjusts to the ‘new normal’ The George Institute is adapting to ensure we can continue to deliver on our mission to improve the health of millions of people worldwide, even in these challenging times.