Our strong track record in the response to infectious diseases and blood-borne viruses has led to the expansion of our research scope to include a range of emerging and neglected infections such as scabies, impetigo, trachoma, malaria and influenza.
Neglected tropical diseases are infectious diseases that occur in tropical and subtropical locations. They are more likely to occur among populations living in poverty where unsanitary conditions and crowded living situations make controlling these infections very difficult.
More than 130 million people worldwide are infected with scabies at any time. In Fiji, one quarter of the population is infected. In a world-first trial of mass drug administration in Fiji we have found that one round of ivermectin reduced the prevalence of scabies by 94 per cent one year after the intervention. In 2016 this trial was extended to the Solomon Islands.
Trachoma is a global health issue, and is a particular problem in the Pacific. Australia is the only developed country to have endemic trachoma, with outbreaks occurring in remote and very remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The Kirby Institute coordinates the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit which collects vital information to inform targeted interventions and engagement with local communities.
Malaria is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity around the world. Our work in malaria involves mathematical modelling and statistical approaches to improve our understanding of how the malaria parasite grows in the human body and how this interacts with available treatments. This understanding will contribute to new tools to support malaria eradication.
Infectious disease emergencies
The Kirby Institute, together with other leading experts in clinical, laboratory and public health research, has recently been awarded a $5 million grant to create the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Diseases Emergencies (APPRISE). We will contribute our expertise in designing and running systems for monitoring epidemics.
We also conduct a number of clinical trials on influenza designed to uncover risk factors for disease severity.
Our other infections research strengths
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
- Biostatistics and Databases
- Infection Analytics
- Public Health Interventions
- Surveillance and Evaluation
- Viral Immunology Systems