Director’s message

Hudson News winter 2020 | Director’s message – Updated June 2020

Professor Elizabeth Hartland

I hope, as you read this, that you and your family are safe and well in these difficult times.

Although lockdown restrictions are easing, the threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus has not gone away. Our scientists are continuing to pursue their research into potential treatments for the SARS-CoV-2 infection and to better understand the disease itself.

It is now known when a vaccine might be available for COVID-19. That’s why our researchers are focusing on treating the inflammatory storm that leads to acute respiratory distress, organ failure, and so many deaths from this new disease.

While the COVID-19 pandemic presents a challenging and uncertain time, we remain positive that the work of our dedicated scientists will improve the lives and health of many in our community.

Medical research and scientific discovery has never been more important than now.

Hudson Institute is inspired by the power of philanthropy. Our work would not be possible without your support, and any gift you can manage is greatly appreciated.

Kind regards

Professor Elizabeth Hartland
Director and CEO


Welcome to Hudson News winter 2020.

How life has changed in the six months since I last wrote. As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds before our eyes, it’s having a devastating toll across the globe, not only in human health but also in social connection and economic loss. In doing so, the COVID-19 pandemic makes a case for the critical importance of medical research and scientific discovery—like never before. Research discovery saves and transforms lives, and humanity depends upon it.

I am proud to say that Hudson Institute is at the forefront of new preliminary treatments for COVID-19. Several of our research teams are working on different approaches to curb the hyper-acute inflammation that results from severe SARS CoV-2 infection.

In susceptible people, the inflammatory response during COVID-19 goes beyond what is helpful for the immune system to clear the virus and instead starts to cause widespread tissue damage in the lung, leading to acute respiratory distress. Our scientists are finding and testing new ways to dampen this inflammation to preserve lung function, stimulate immunity and keep people safe from the life-threatening consequences of SARS CoV-2 infection. You can read about this work on the following pages, ‘Using our immune system to fight COVID-19‘ and ‘Inflammation and infectious diseases‘.

Because SARS CoV-2 is a new virus, there are still many things we don’t understand; for example, why adults and children are affected so differently. We are part of a new clinical trial with Monash Health that will examine SARS CoV-2 infection in adults and children to compare those who have mild disease and recover, with those who suffer severe disease requiring intensive care. You can read about this trial on the following page, ‘Using our immune system to fight COVID-19‘.

We have been able to help our on-site partner, Monash Health, in other practical ways by offering laboratory support staff, personal protective equipment, diagnostic materials and producing our own hand sanitiser to back up domestic supply in the hospital during this crisis. Our gratitude and support go to all those at the front line of healthcare who are working long hours, often at risk to themselves, and to the scientists in our Institute and around the world working to rapidly advance COVID-19 research.

While the COVID-19 pandemic presents a challenging and uncertain time, we remain positive that the work of our dedicated scientists will improve the lives and health of many in our community. Despite the difficulty of having to slow the pace of some of our research programs due to COVID-19 restrictions, we continue to lead groundbreaking research on the gut microbiome, childhood brain cancer and pelvic organ prolapse. Once again, I am incredibly proud of the achievements of our researchers and I hope you enjoy reading about them here, in Hudson News.

Hudson Institute is inspired by the power of philanthropy. Our work would not be possible without your support, and any gift you can manage is greatly appreciated.

Stay safe and well this winter.

Professor Elizabeth Hartland
Director and CEO

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