This Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Coronavirus Research Response - 2020 COVID-19 Immunological Studies Grant Opportunity will support research that characterises the immune response across COVID-19 patients with asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe, and critical disease.

Understanding the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and how differences in the human immune response may contribute to disease severity is crucial for informing clinical care, development and prioritisation of vaccines and therapeutics, and targeting public health interventions.

Studying the natural infection and the level of immunity across these patient groups will support:

  • understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transmitted by asymptomatic individuals
  • the development of predictive markers of patient infectivity and to define disease severity
  • understanding the immunological correlates of protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • understanding how genetic variation between SARS-CoV-2 isolates (as the virus mutates) effects the immune response of different patient groups.

The research should consider population dynamics in Australia and vulnerable population groups such as the elderly, pregnant women and those with complex and/or chronic health conditions.

The intended outcome of this research is knowledge and evidence that will inform the national health response to COVID-19 and support clinical practice, including:

  • targeting interventions such as self-isolation
  • prioritisation of vaccines and / or treatments for high-risk individuals and vulnerable populations.

Given the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, timely research outcomes relative to the time required to conduct the appropriate research should be proposed.

This grant opportunity is being administered by NHMRC on behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Health. This opportunity is supported by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Further information on the Medical Research Future Fund is available on the Department’s website at:

Apply for funding

A complete application to the grant opportunity must consist of the following:

  • Profile Report containing information drawn from each Chief Investigator’s Profile in NHMRC’s Granting System (Sapphire).
  • Application Report containing information that you entered directly into the Application Form in NHMRC’s Granting System (Sapphire).
  • Grant Proposal. You will upload this PDF file into NHMRC’s Granting System (Sapphire). Refer to section 6.4 of the grant opportunity guidelines.
  • Declaration of Applicant Interests. You will upload this PDF file into NHMRC’s Granting System (Sapphire). Refer to section 12.1 of the grant opportunity guidelines.
  • Letter/s from research facilities (where relevant). These PDF files will be uploaded into NHMRC’s Granting System (Sapphire). Refer to section 6.4 of the grant opportunity guidelines.

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