Global Search for COVID-19 Treatments

Monday 7 March 2022

COVID-19 Virus Cell structure

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, and variants such as Omicron continue to emerge, identification of effective COVID-19 treatments remains critical.

Thanks to the generosity of you, our donors, the RBWH Foundation Coronavirus Action Fund continues to help fund the global search for treatments and patient care protocols through the Australasian COVID-19 (ASCOT) Trial.

More than 1500 patients have been recruited from 42 hospitals across Australia, New Zealand, India and Nepal.

It is expected that ASCOT reporting will make a substantial contribution to existing global knowledge and datasets.

  • “We need to be developing new therapies against COVID, testing what really works, what doesn’t work, the best way to prevent COVID and the best way to prevent long-COVID.”
    Professor David Paterson, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician

One of the key findings has been ruling out convalescent plasma, which is manufactured from the blood of recovered patients, as an effective therapy.

“It’s important for us to know when a therapy doesn’t work, because there’s nothing worse than giving patients false hope at the expense of a lot of other people’s time,” explained Prof. Paterson.

The next focus will be the prevention of blood clots.

I’d like to thank everybody who has contributed to the Coronavirus Action Fund, because we know that without this amazing support researchers and doctors like myself just couldn’t get the results that we really need.”

RBWH Researchers using vials to test COVID-19 Treatments

Your support of the Coronavirus Action Fund is helping fund these ongoing COVID-19 research projects:

  • The impact of life-support equipment on COVID-19 drugs
  • Long-term COVID-19 side-effects
  • The impact of telehealth/virtual care on Heart Failure and Pulmonary Rehabilitation patient care
  • Face time and virtual visiting of patients in ICU
  • Changes in gestational diabetes testing
  • Impacts on maternal depression and related disorders
  • A new fast, low-cost COVID-19 test
  • RBWH Specialist Outpatient Services virtual care evaluation
  • RBWH Emergency Operations Centre’s response to COVID-19: barriers and enablers.

Herston Infectious Diseases Institute: An Extraordinary Legacy To Protect Future Generations

RBWH Researchers Testing COVID-19 Treatments in the lab

The most significant outcome of the Coronavirus Action Fund has been establishment of the Herston Infectious Diseases Institute in early 2021. The Institute is a collaboration of clinician-researchers focussing on translational research, innovative clinical practice, and outstanding clinical education to optimise the outcomes for patients with infectious diseases.

  • The Institute builds on 155 years of world-class infectious diseases research at the Herston Health Precinct and Brisbane more broadly.”
    Simone Garske, RBWH Foundation CEO

“The link between the disfiguring virus Elephantiasis and mosquitoes was discovered here in 1876, and the discovery of Q Fever in the 1930s, which is an infection spread to humans by animals, is also closely linked to RBWH,” said Ms Garske.

Institute expertise includes prevention of infection, rapid diagnosis, clinical trials – both optimising currently available antibiotics and introducing new agents, ensuring accurate antibiotic dosing, and developing a comprehensive understanding of the transmission and impact of infectious diseases in Queensland.

“The RBWH Foundation acknowledges the considerable contribution and generosity of our supporters, Keith and Glenda Drake, in ensuring the Institute became a reality,” said Ms Garske.

Impact has already been significant:

  • Three Drake Infectious Diseases Medical Research Fellows and a Pharmacy Research Fellow
  • Early Career Researcher Enabling Grants
  • Establishment of key themes in Vascular Access and Device Related Infections.

Read the Full Impact Report