Characterising the host response to infectious diseases
In collaboration with biological and immunological colleagues, the modelling and simulation group has developed a combined experimental-analytic framework to study the host-pathogen interaction, with applications to influenza and malaria.
For influenza we have focused on the quantitative assessment of changes in viral replicative ability and transmissibility in association with development of drug-resistance [1,3,4]. More recently we have initiated a series of studies designed to probe the role of the innate and adaptive immune systems in controlling viral replication. Findings from influenza within-host modelling contribute to existing epidemiological studies on the role of prior and waning immunity on influenza transmission, surveillance for emergent drug-resistant strains of influenza and the development of next-generation influenza vaccines designed to elicit broadly cross-protective responses. In collaboration with biostatistics and parasitological colleagues, we have further embarked on studies of the host-pathogen-drug interaction for malaria infection  with the aim to understand how the development of the immune response to malaria influences the inferred role that antimalarial drugs play in controlling infection. Our malaria research has implications for resistance-assay development, drug resistance surveillance and treatment regimens.
Associate Professor Aeron Hurt (WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza)
ARC Future Fellowship (McCaw), Melbourne Research Grant Support Scheme, NHMRC Influenza Programme Grant funding
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