Counteracting Coronavirus with ANFF-Q and UQ infrastructure

Understanding a novel virus is the first step in developing effective diagnosis, prophylactic vaccines and therapeutics.

Thanks to its fully fledged, highly advanced range of capabilities to enhance research into infectious pathogens and the prevention and treatment of disease – along with leading research technologies, specialised equipment, and fit-for-purpose laboratories – UQ is well placed in the current fight against coronavirus.

UQ Protein Expression Facility Director Professor Linda Lua believes UQ’s expertise in immunology, structural biology, vaccine engineering and bioprocessing, and materials fabrication and characterisation has assisted many of the University’s COVID-19-related research activities.

“In drug discovery, rapid diagnostics and vaccine development, it’s critical to have a comprehensive understanding of the virushost interaction and the structure and function of key viral proteins,” she says.

“UQ has several centres with a range of expertise and diverse equipment on offer to accelerate drug discovery and the development of rapid diagnostic tools and vaccines.

“For example, the Australian National Fabrication Facility – Queensland node offers state-of-the-art fabrication, characterisation and 3D printing services that can help create diagnostic devices for early rapid disease identification. It also develops and tests personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against virus transmission.”

Infrastructure located at UQ Capabilities
Australian Genome Research Facility Sanger sequencing for validation purposes
Australian National Fabrication Facility–Queensland Diagnostic devices, PPE manufacture and quality control, design and fabrication of microfluidic devices, rapid development of medical treatments
Centre for Advanced Imaging Processing of small molecules via NMR molecular structure determination tools, preclinical molecular imaging, vaccine component monitoring, vaccine safety testing, clinical tracing, long-term patient monitoring
Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis Protein structure characterisation, TEM methods for identifying and locating virus in tissues, macromolecular structure determination – including x-ray protein crystallography and three cryogenic electron microscopes
Protein Expression Facility Recombinant protein production, high-grade plasmid DNA, serology-specific reagents, protein engineering, bioprocess development, antibody technology
TetraQ Rodent toxicology and pharmacokinetic services, bioanalytical services