The Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (GCEID) is led by the brilliant Professor Soren Alexandersen, one of the world’s leading experts on “One Health” – the multidisciplinary approach to managing infectious diseases in people, animals and the environment.
The GCEID is not only Australia’s first Centre of its kind, it is also nationally and globally unique. Geographically the stars align in Geelong with the key collaborations between three high level institutions – Deakin University, the CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) and, of course, Barwon Health – all uniquely positioned regionally.
The Centre started as a virtual partnership almost 4 years ago and has evolved since late 2015 into a fully established partnership with its core laboratory at Barwon Health’s University Hospital Geelong.
According to Soren, the One Health approach is to understand and mitigate the risks and then reduce the impact caused by emerging infectious diseases in Australia and globally.
“Scientists acknowledge that human, livestock and wildlife health can’t be understood or controlled in isolation and there is an increasing risk of infections of man, livestock, pets and wildlife as a result of globalization and modern processes.”
“Veterinarians have appreciated the risks of cross-infection for a long time working with animals in agriculture, wildlife and zoos, or with domestic pets, but it is newer ground for the medical profession and everyone needs to work together. GCEID is an incubator for the partners and a hub for facilitating collaboration on and coordination of swift research responses including diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, infection control, policy advice and clinical trials.”
The Proof and Potential
Soren Alexandersen and the team are pioneers. They are researching many projects including, right now, the Zika virus that became so well known in the lead up to the Rio Olympics. While the Olympics show moves to its next destination, so too is Zika – still a prevalent danger and, it seems, crossing the world.
The GCEID are currently working on finding a good animal model for the Zika virus. Ongoing activities together with CSIRO- AAHL are looking at pigs as a potential suitable model.
You can read more about Professor Alexandersen and the work of his research team by clicking HERE