Congratulations to the RMH and The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity Infectious Diseases Physician Professor Steven Tong, who has been awarded $3.9 million in the latest round of Australian Government Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Grants.

Steven Tong
Steven Tong

The latest round of MRFF funding provides a total of $31.5 million to support COVID-19 research projects that will help Australia to find new ways to treat the disease and better manage it in future. Steven leads the global ASCOT-ADAPT trial, which tests treatments for hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

Under the grant project, the trial will join Monash University's REMAP-CAP study to identify effective treatments for COVID-19 as soon as possible, under the title "A coordinated multiplatform randomised trial for hospitalised patients with COVID-19".

The combined studies will evaluate the optimal dose of dexamethasone, will compare two immune modulators (tocilizumab and baricitinib) to determine which is most effective, and look at the use of convalescent plasma in patients who are immune suppressed.

Steven said combining projects will generate results that contribute to global datasets in real time.

“REMAP-CAP is a highly successful platform with global reach. Within this joint framework, ASCOT will provide leadership on addressing priority therapeutic questions for non-critically ill patients,” Steven said.

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler said that with millions of Australians having tested positive to COVID-19, with impacts being felt across the community, these studies are much needed.

“The Government is investing more than $31 million to support Australia’s best researchers as they search for better tests and treatments to pair with the protections offered by our high vaccine rates. This work will also help us as we plan for and manage COVID-19 into the future."

We also congratulate the RMH's Professor Kanta Subbarao, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza at the Doherty Institute, who also received $998,339 for her project that will analyse how respiratory viruses are transmitted through air, to improve models of transmission and responses to future outbreaks.

Mobile Stroke Unit with Ambulance Victoria paramedic and the RMH Stroke team
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