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St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation awards two grants supporting critical COVID-19 research projects

28 May 2020

Prof Greg Dore and A/Prof Gail Matthews The COVID-19 grants bolster research work aiming to comprehend the virus long-term impact and future-proof response to the pandemic

The St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation is delighted to announce today the two successful recipients of its dedicated COVID-19 research grant: Associate Professor Gail Matthews and Professor Gregory Dore. The COVID-19 research grant funding, totalling to $150,000, is designed to kick-start these two complementary research projects.

A/Prof Gail Matthews, Head of Infectious Diseases at St Vincent’s Hospital and Associate Professor at Kirby Institute, co-leads the “ADAPT” study with Dr David Darley. This collaborative study, involving numerous St Vincent’s researchers, is investigating the factors behind the varying levels of illness severity in patients with COVID-19. In gaining scientific knowledge on the physical and psychological impact of COVID-19 and its immune consequences, the research could contribute to future studies for COVID vaccines and medications.

Prof Gregory Dore, Infectious Diseases Physician at St Vincent’s Hospital and Head of Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program at Kirby Institute, co-leads a complementary study, “ADAPT-C”. The research project aims to look at the development of antibodies and their patterns over time on patients who have recovered from COVID-19 infection, providing critical insights to advise the long-term response to the pandemic. The study will also evaluate the potential antibody cross-reactivity between COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, including other coronaviruses.

Both projects rely on the establishment of well-characterised community-based cohorts of individuals with and without COVID-19 infection for clinical data and samples. As St Vincent’s Hospital has been within one of the epicentres of COVID-19 cases, there is a unique opportunity to establish these cohorts to provide valuable data. In addition, St Vincent’s Hospital has one of the few laboratories that undertakes the COVID-19 swab test on a “multiplex” machine that tests for all other major respiratory viruses.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of our study from the St Vincent’s Clinic Foundation. This grant is a very significant contribution to our endeavours to answer the most relevant questions related to COVID-19 in the St Vincent’s patient population,” said A/Prof Gail Matthews.

“The willingness of our COVID-19 patients to be involved in these research studies has been extremely encouraging. This support now provides us with the capacity to optimise that enthusiasm to advance our understanding of COVID-19,” said Prof Gregory Dore.