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Barwon Health COVID-19 research project receives Victorian Government backing

Tuesday, 04 August 2020

A Barwon Health research project is receiving Victorian Government backing to better understand, prevent and treat COVID-19.

The $5.5 million COVID-19 Research Fund is supporting seven Victorian projects, with Barwon Health teaming up with Deakin University to undertake a comparative observational study to determine the long-term biological physiological, and psychological impacts of COVID-19 infection on a regional population.

Led by Barwon Health Professors Eugene Athan, Pete Vuillermin and Dan O’Brien, the study involves a multidisciplinary team coming together across multiple sites, including

  • Deakin University (Professors John Stambas, Alister Ward, Michael Berk, Julie Pasco, A/Professor Alyssa Barry)
  • Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (Professor Soren Alexandersen)
  • Ballarat Health (Dr Raquel Cowan)
  • University of Melbourne (Professor Stephen Kent)
  • ACDP (formerly AAHL) (Cameron Stuart)
  • Burnet Institute (A/Professor David Anderson, Dr Bhat)
  • WEHI (Professor Ivo Mueller)

In keeping with the experience throughout Australia, the majority of COVID-19 cases across the Geelong region have been mild. However, the long-term effects of mild and moderate COVID-19 disease are unknown, and may have important public health implications.

The project will leverage existing population studies to conduct a robust, longitudinal evaluation of the impact of COVID-19 on a range of important health indicators such as immune biomarkers and measures of physical and psychological health. The outcomes will include objective measures of cardiac, respiratory, liver and renal function.

The demographic mix within the Geelong region means the study could provide valuable information about the long-term effects of the virus around the nation.