At MCRI we’re leveraging existing networks and projects globally to facilitate COVID-19 research including work on pneumococcal, tuberculosis, rotavirus, adolescent health, and maternal and newborn health. Our global networks enable us to assess the effects of COVID-19 in areas where we have existing partnerships. For example, the work led by Professor Steve Graham incorporates COVID-19 screening in households that are already being screened for tuberculosis in line with their initial surveillance program. These programs can be utilised to deploy relevant COVID-19 information and services, such as developing and providing COVID-19 infection and control guidelines to staff on the ground. The global work across campus also involves participation in a variety of international committees whose aims include providing expert advice and support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global Child Health during the COVID-19 pandemic: impact, effects and the future of child health
In this seminar we heard from Prof Fiona Russell, Prof Kim Mulholland, and Dr Nastiti Kaswandani who describes the impact of the current global pandemic on children in the Asia Pacific region, including the indirect effects, schools closures, and considerations for vaccination. This was followed by a panellist discussion and Q&A. In addition to the presenters, panellists included Prof Anna Ong-Lim and Dr Rachel Devi who discussed how COVID-19 has affected children and families in their local regions.
Extending existing surveillance platforms to include COVID-19
The global health work led by Professor Fiona Russell, Professor Steve Graham, and Professor Kim Mulholland, among many others, includes the surveillance of pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other diseases, in the Pacific and other countries. They have leveraged this existing work to incorporate COVID-19 testing into the existing surveillance studies, and aim to assess not only the prevalence of COVID-19 in these communities, but also understand the impact COVID-19 has on clinical outcomes of the study population.
Wastewater COVID-19 surveillance in Fiji
Professor Julie Bines aims to explore the potential role of faecal transmission of COVID-19 and environmental faecal contamination in Fiji by utilising existing programs and collaborations. By assessing wastewater (faecal and environmental samples) in the community, the team aims to establish an early warning system in Fiji to determine circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in the community. Not only will this have the potential to provide information to reduce COVID-19 infection in this setting, but it may also provide an efficient and sustainable method for ongoing monitoring of COVID-19 in the community.
COVID-19 and Schools
Prof Fiona Russell and Prof Sharon Goldfeld led the MCRI analysis of the Victorian school outbreak data and developed a plan to reopening the schools safely. A review of the role of kids and schools in transmission, and school mitigation strategies was also done within one month, commissioned by the DHHS. Their findings were instrumental in getting children back to school after the second wave in Victoria in 2020. The findings were presented to the US CDC, AHPPC, ASID Clinical Research network, and the UNESCO and WHO MNCAH COVID-19 research working group on COVID-19 in schools, and the World Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases. Prof Russell was quoted in the National Geographic and Nature, numerous media agencies, and was an invited panel member of the WHO Global Science Dialogue of COVID-19 and children’s role in transmission.
- Research Network on COVID-19 for Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health
- Grand Rounds: COVID-19: Vaccines in development and getting them to where they are needed
- SAGE Working Group on measles and rubella vaccines
- Prof Fiona Russell and A/Prof Nigel Crawford participated in a webinar hosted by the World Health Organization, entitled Global Science Dialogue on Transmission in Children, available here. Access Passcode: F7Ea+aqy
- Contain This Podcast: COVID-19 Vaccines in the Pacific. Featuring Prof Fiona Russell. Listen here.
- Vaccine Nationalism Keep World’s Poorest Waiting for Shots
- Protecting children in low-income and middle-income countries from COVID-19
- Paediatric care in the time of COVID-19 in countries with under-resourced healthcare systems
- Who should be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination?
- Progress and Pitfalls in the Quest for Effective SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccines
- Action needed now to prevent further increases in measles and measles deaths in the coming years
- Intranasal corticosteroids in allergic rhinitis in COVID‐19 infected patients: An ARIA‐EAACI statement
- Direct and indirect effects of COVID-19 on perinatal outcomes in low- and middle-income countries
- Global Ethical Considerations Regarding Mandatory Vaccination in Children