Dr James McMahon, Infectious Diseases physician and Head of Clinical Research at the Alfred Hospital and Monash University, has his sights set on cracking the immunity code of COVID-19.
Leading a new research project into the virus, Dr McMahon has set out to determine why some people who contract COVID-19 become more unwell than others.
By collecting blood and respiratory swabs from COVID-19 patients in Melbourne, the research will thoroughly test what the COVID-19 virus does and how it behaves in different people. The project will also focus on the interactions between medicines and the virus to better understand how effective any treatments might be.
“It became pretty clear pretty quickly that individuals were having different responses to this virus,” Dr McMahon said.
“Much of that was to do with age and also people with other medical conditions and compromised immune systems. But we were seeing severe cases alongside mild cases. We were very interested in finding out more about why that was happening.”
“This research project will help us understand the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable people in our community such as older people and people with compromised immune systems. It will guide us how best to look after people with COVID-19.”
The project has been funded by a $250,000 grant from the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. It builds on an existing project at The Alfred which examines influenza by collecting clinical data and samples from patients Australia-wide.
“The speed with which we could approach and get responses from philanthropic bodies like LMCF is critical for the rapid development of projects such as this and wouldn’t be possible without this support,” said Dr McMahon.