What Do We Need To Discover About COVID-19?

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As many of us have become armchair experts in virus transmission and ‘flattening the curve’, it’s easy to feel like we’re drowning in information about COVID-19. Although new aspects of the virus continue to emerge daily in the terrifying living laboratory the world has become, there is still so much we don’t know. As we grapple with the enormous disruption the virus has brought,
what have we found out so far? Is a vaccine really on the horizon.

Nicholas Fisk, UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), hosts a panel of medical experts, Rebecca Guy, Anthony Kelleher, Raina MacIntyre and William Rawlinson as they discuss what we need to discover or invent to make sure we are better equipped to face the future.

A link to the livestream of this event will be sent to registered guests the day before the event.

This event is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and the Kirby Institute.


UNSW has developed a clear vision to tackle the immediate and long-term impacts of COVID-19 within our society. Find out how you can join UNSW to change the course of COVID-19 in a way that’s meaningful to you.

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For event enquires or to discuss your access requirements, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9385 1000 or email

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Nicholas Fisk (chair)

Professor Nicholas Fisk is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW Sydney. His research is in the fields of developmental biology and maternal-fetal medicine, and he is the author of more than 400 publications. He has served in leadership roles in a number of international and national organisations, including as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He joined UNSW from the University of Queensland, where he was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the inaugural Director of the University of Queensland's $70 million Centre for Clinical Research. He was elected to Fellowship of the Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2014.

Rebecca Guy
Professor Rebecca Guy is a Professor in Epidemiology at the Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW. She has expertise in surveillance and evaluation of public health interventions related to HIV and sexually transmissible infections. Her research focuses on reducing the impact of HIV sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in vulnerable populations, including implementation and evaluation of point-of-care testing and prevention initiatives to reduce the transmission of HIV and STIs (including HPV) in a range of settings. Her research also focuses on optimising antibiotic treatment of STIs and using diagnostics to improve antibiotic stewardship.

Anthony Kelleher
Professor Anthony Kelleher is the Director of the Kirby Institute at UNSW. He is a leading HIV researcher who has been involved with every HIV vaccine trial conducted in Australia, and multiple phase I-IV clinical trials, particularly those involving patients with primary infection. He is currently working on mapping the HIV reservoir and developing a novel “block and lock” approach towards clinical application. Professor Kelleher has been Head of the Immunovirology and Pathogenesis Program at the Kirby Institute since 2005. He is also a clinical academic at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, responsible for clinical care of patients with HIV infection and autoimmune diseases as well as oversight of the NSW State HIV Reference laboratory.

Raina MacIntyre
Professor Raina MacIntyre is Head of the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute at UNSW. She runs a highly strategic research program spanning epidemiology, vaccinology, mathematical modelling, public health and clinical trials in infectious diseases. She is an international leader in emerging infections, and is involved in research on face mask, vaccines, influenza and other infectious diseases research studies that directly inform national and international policy and practice in communicable disease control. She has won numerous awards for her work including the Frank Fenner Award for Research in Infectious Diseases. She has served on numerous expert committees nationally and internationally, including for the Institute of Medicine in the US and the WHO.

William Rawlinson
Professor William Rawlinson AM is a Senior Medical Virologist and the Director of Virology at South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Health Service. He is a distinguished molecular virologist with particular scientific expertise in herpes viruses (CMV), hepatitis virus (HCV), enteroviruses, and respiratory viruses. His contributions to science includes new testing algorithms for common viral illnesses, sequencing and analysis of the murine CMV genome, unique studies of congenital CMV and the placenta, unique data on endogenous viruses and cancer, and he continues to directly supervise projects within these areas. He has received multiple awards in science and is on advisory boards to the NSW and Commonwealth Departments of Health.

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