Infectious Diseases

We aim to change the trajectory of global child and adult health to reduce the impact of infectious diseases and allergies.

Improving the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in children is at the heart of everything we do. To achieve this, our research comprises both clinical and laboratory-based studies, with a focus on global collaboration to engage the brightest minds in infectious diseases.

Our clinical research includes randomised controlled trials, observational studies and systematic reviews of best practices. Our laboratory research encompasses basic and applied immunological, as well as microbiological studies, to explore the mechanisms by which pathogens interact with the host immune response and cause disease.

Our focus

We have a particular interest in infections that are important to child health worldwide, such as respiratory infections (e.g., tuberculosis and COVID-19) and neonatal sepsis.

A key focus of our current work is the investigation of the heterologous – or off-target – effects of Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination. Our team is investigating the hypothesis that the immunomodulatory effects of BCG vaccination influence the development of infant immunity to enhance protection against infections and reduce susceptibility to allergic disease.

In infants, our MIS BAIR trial is investigating the beneficial off-target effects of neonatal BCG vaccination in protecting against infection, eczema, allergy and asthma.

In adults, our multinational BRACE trial of the off-target effects of BCG vaccination randomised in 6,828 healthcare workers in Australia, Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Another research area is identifying determinants of immunity and susceptibility to infections using a multi-omics approach.

Professor Nigel Curtis | Murdoch Children's Annual Showcase 2020

Professor Nigel Curtis is a paediatric infectious diseases physician and clinician scientist and leader of the Infectious Diseases Research Group at Murdoch Children's Research Institute. Nigel is investigating whether a 100-year-old vaccine can protect healthcare workers against COVID-19.


BRACE trial in the media

This Australian-led study is amongst the world’s largest trial on the off-target effects of Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine. More than 6,800 healthcare workers are enrolled in Australia, Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

BRACE trial – Behind the Scenes

Take a peek behind the curtain of the definitive trial on the off-target effects of BCG vaccine. Follow sample shipments from across the globe to the Murdoch Children's laboratories, see our clinics in action and learn what the data team is up to, as the BRACE trial seeks to determine whether BCG vaccine reduces the incidence of symptomatic and severe COVID-19, as well as other respiratory illnesses and allergic diseases.

BRACE in Brazil

The BRACE trial extended into Brazil when COVID-19 infections were skyrocketing. Hear from our investigators Professor Julio Croda and Professor Margareth Dalcolmo about how the multinational BCG vaccine study is going, and what will happen next.

BRACE video Clinical Trials Day 2021

Hear from Ann Ginsberg, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about how the BRACE trial has risen to the challenge of running the largest BCG vaccine study for healthcare workers during the global pandemic.

MIS BAIR – BCG for allergy and infection reduction study

 A vaccine that was routinely used in Australia to prevent tuberculosis in the 80s could reduce the rate of allergies and infections in infants and children.