Skip to main content

Zoonotic viruses of New South Wales

University of Newcastle

Grant:
  • PhD Scholarship
Date Funded:
  • 1 July, 2023
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Professor Brett Neilan

Project Summary

Characterising viruses from bats and mosquitoes in NSW that are pathogenic to humans as an early warning system.

What is the issue for NSW?

Despite the global impact of COVID-19, we remain in the dark about viruses in the flying foxes and mosquitoes that reside in our own ‘back yard’. After the economic and societal instability of the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential for new viruses to emerge from these hosts and cause human disease demands our attention. Viruses from flying foxes and mosquitoes already cause disease, spreading from region to region and fluctuating with environmental conditions. Currently the knowledge that a pathogen is in the environment comes from a person who has already contracted the disease. We believe this is too late. The more we know about the viruses present in flying foxes and mosquitoes, the better we can mitigate the risk for human health.

What does the research aim to do and how?

Our research aims to characterise the viruses in flying foxes and mosquitoes and catalogue known and potential pathogens.

We propose to interrogate the viruses in flying foxes and mosquitoes and look for those with the potential to cause human disease. Secondly, we will devise simple methods of detection that can be used anywhere where flying foxes and mosquitoes reside for both diagnosis and surveillance.

The student trained on the project will work with professionals from academia, NSW Health and industry and acquire expertise and skills that span these domains.