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COVID-19 in Australia: Being Prepared and Understanding the Role of Cellular Immune Responses

May 27, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am CEST


Australia has managed to not just flatten but squash the curve of infections with COVID19 and relatively few people have died. This is as a result of extensive PCR testing starting in late January, informed leadership from our government and regular input to policy from our scientific community. In addition, the establishment of a research network focused on pandemic preparedness back in 2016 led to several pre-approved protocols for observational and international clinical trials that could be activated immediately following the first diagnosis of COVID 19 in Australia.
The work of Sharon Lewin and Katherine Kedzierska on immunity to SARS-CoV2 has demonstrated the breadth of concomitant immune responses associated with recovery in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 requiring hospitalisation. Their study showed increased antibody-secreting cells, follicular T-helper cells, activated CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells and IgM/IgG SARS-CoV-2-binding antibodies detected in blood, prior to resolution of clinical symptoms.

These immunological changes persisted for at least 7 days following full resolution of symptoms, indicating substantial anti-viral immunity in non-severe COVID-19. Overall, their work indicates that robust multi-factorial immune responses can be elicited towards the newly-emerged SARS-CoV-2 and early adaptive immune responses might correlate with better clinical outcomes.

Presenter: Sharon Lewin

Sharon Lewin is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. She is an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist. Her research focuses on understanding why HIV persists on treatment and developing clinical trials aimed at ultimately finding a cure for HIV infection.

She is also the lead investigator for the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Planning on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE), a member of the council of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, an elected member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society (IAS) representing the Asia Pacific region and co-chairs the IAS Global Advisory board for the Towards an HIV Cure initiative.  

Presenter: Katherine Kedzierska

Katherine Kedzierska is Laboratory Head in Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. 

Her research interests include human T cell immunity to pandemic, seasonal and newly emerged influenza viruses, anti-viral immunity in the young, the elderly and Indigenous Australians, viral escape and generation of immunological memory in human influenza infection. She also studies human immunity to SARS-CoV2 in COVID patients. She is an Adjunct Professor at Fudan University, Shanghai, China and a Co-Director of the Sino-Australia Joint Research Laboratory for the Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Disease Research, Fudan-Melbourne University, located at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre. Katherine is a Co-Head of Indigenous Health at the Doherty Institute.

Moderator: Roslyn Kemp

Roslyn Kemp is the President of the New Zealand Society for Oncology and Secretary-General of IUIS.

She has a background in fundamental T cell biology in the context of homeostasis and cancer. Her current work focuses on the local immune response in people with colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases.

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May 27, 2020
10:00 am - 11:00 am CEST
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International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS)
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