In the Media: highlights from Microbiology and Immunology April & May 2022

Our experts from the Dept of Microbiology & Immunology at the Peter Doherty Institute have been at the forefront of COVID-19 breakthrough research and media commentary. Catch up on the latest highlights here.

  • Ben Howden, Abdou Hachani and Claire Gorrie had a paper released in Cell Metabolism that they co-authored with Columbia University looking at how Klebsiella pneumoniae induces host metabolic stress that promotes tolerance to pulmonary infection.
  • The 2022 International Conference on Human Retrovirology: HTLV and related viruses, which is convened by Damian Purcell, was held virtually. They published a global call to action, calling for a meaningful response to the ongoing HTLV-1 epidemics worldwide.
  • Julie McAuley’s paper which listed common cleaning agents that kill COVID-19, and the correct dilutions to use, was picked up for a story in Cosmos Magazine, MSN, Medical Express, 4BC, Medical Forum, Lab and Life Scientist, and 2CC radio in Canberra.
  • Katherine Kedzierska released two papers, the first titled ‘SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell memory with prevalent TCRαβ motifs is established in unvaccinated children who seroconvert’, and the second titled ‘SARS-CoV-2 infection results in immune responses in the respiratory tract and peripheral blood that suggests mechanisms of disease severity’.
  • Dr Pat Reading and Jean Moselen were deployed to the Solomon Islands to assist with strengthening molecular testing during their first outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Peter Doherty:
    • Was a guest on the Radio National program Big Ideas alongside Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt talking about COVID, climate change, and funding for the next generation of Australian scientists.
    • Spoke with The Age about preventing future pandemics. He also spoke with the Sunday Herald Sun about the need for third and fourth booster shots.
    • Appeared on ABC Mornings with Ali Moore for the segment You Don’t Know Me.
    • Spoke with the Courier Mail and Herald Sun about the upcoming flu season and the importance of getting your flu vaccine, especially with COVID-19 cases so high. The story, including footage of Peter getting his flu vaccine also appeared on Channel 9.
    • Spoke with Radio National about the concerning complacency around COVID-19.
    • Received the Ceppellini Award from the European Federation of Immunogenetics at the 35th European Immunogenetics and Histocompatibility Conference.
    • Spoke with Virginia Trioli on ABC Mornings about the current COVID-19 situation in Australia, with the country recording some of the highest daily case numbers globally.
  • Scott Mueller published a paper in Cell Reports which found that the cornea produces T cells following viral infections, which are able to protect against future infections. He appeared on ABC Radio to discuss the paper and stories also appeared in several outlets including Science Daily and Medical Xpress.
  • Sebastian Duchene:
    • Wrote an op-ed for MJAs news magazine, Insight, discussing how COVID-19 variants of concern are created.
    • Co-wrote a piece for The Conversation about why we are seeing so many Omicron sub-variants. This was picked up by news outlets around the globe including Yahoo!.
  • Stephen Kent co-authored a paper with Professor Miles Davenport from the Kirby Institute which was released in Nature Reviews Immunology looking into what role vaccine-induced T cells might play in protecting against more severe COVID-19 infection. The paper follows an open letter to the FDA urging for guidelines around assessing T-cells to be included in COVID-19 vaccine advice.
  • The first six participants in the COVID-19 Melbourne made vaccines clinical trial have been dosed.
  • Tim Stinear spoke with 3AW following cases of Buruli ulcer being detected in Pascoe Vale South and Strathmore.
  • Associate Professor Torsten Seeman was announced a WHO Western Pacific Innovation Challenge winner for leading the development of AusTrakka, Australia’s pathogen genomic surveillance platform.