AITHM James Cook University

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Infectious Disease

Infectious diseases are a significant health burden for people in the Tropics, causing many millions of deaths each year and posing a threat to Australia’s health security. AITHM engages in both clinical and translational research, with a major focus on rampant infectious diseases including malaria, TB and dengue fever.

AITHM research aims to understand the epidemiology of infectious diseases, how they invade the body, and how they spread. Research teams are developing new treatments, vaccines and other health interventions to improve how the diseases are managed and understand how individuals accept and respond to treatments. Importantly, AITHM infectious disease research protects Australia’s borders, preserving national health security, and enhancing health outcomes for our tropical neighbours.


Monitoring mosquitoes to prevent disease transmission

Mosquito borne diseases continue to pose a very real threat to tropical populations around the region, and as such remain a threat to Australia’s biosecurity.
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Malaria vaccine development

Malaria remains a major public health threat throughout the Tropics, with significant mortality, morbidity and socioeconomic impact despite extensive worldwide efforts dedicated to the development of an effective intervention. AITHM is a leading malarial research group in Australia and a significant global player in malarial research.
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New funding enhances TB vaccine progress

In 2015, there were 1.8 million deaths associated with TB and more than 10.4 million new cases diagnosed around the world. The development of new and effective TB vaccines is crucial as the only licensed anti-TB vaccine, Bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG), does not effectively protect adults, and therefore does not prevent disease transmission.
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Mathematical modelling assesses TB interventions

Professor Emma McBryde and her research team are using mathematical models to predict outcomes relating to TB research interventions. These include estimating the value of short course chemotherapy for MDR -TB, and estimating the burden of the impact of treatment of latent TB.
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Tuberculosis research sites in Papua New Guinea

AITHM researchers are investigating clusters of TB in PNG’s Middle Fly province, examining the diseases genomes to look for their origins and evidence of drug resistance mutations. The teams are also investigating people’s immune response to tuberculosis infection.
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Understanding and diagnosing TB in remote PNG

Using the tools of genomics, immunology and epidemiology, AITHM researchers are working closely with the people of the Western Province PNG to improve the diagnosis of TB, identify the risk factors for the disease, and ensure a sustainable research program approach in this remote region.
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Protecting Australia's northern borders with TB intervention

AITHM research plays a key role in addressing TB incursions from PNG into northern Australia, and preventing TB outbreaks in Cape York and the Torres Strait, enhancing Australia’s biosecurity.  Led by Professor Emma McBryde, key collaborations with Queensland Health and Cape York and Torres Strait Islander communities enable the delivery of research and clinical services. Appointed as the lead physician for the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service TB Program, Professor McBryde plays a key role in preventing TB outbreaks in the region.
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