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The inaugural COVID-19 Conference Day

10 September 2021

Thank you to everyone who attend the Devils in the Details – Making sense of COVID-19 a one-day conference, featuring thematic sessions from a range of speakers.

This event was convened by Professor Sharon Lewin, AO, Director of the Peter Doherty Institute and Co-Chaired by Associate Professor Edwina Wright, AM, of the Alfred Hospital and Monash University in Melbourne.

All presentations are available to watch on demand until end of January 2022.

Click HERE to view speakers.

Executive Summary and Day Rapporteurs Report

Download a copy of the Executive summary and Rapporteurs Report to learn about the key findings and discussions of the day.

Program Overview

09:00 – 10:00

Devils in the Details – Making sense of COVID-19: Plenary

Chair: Sharon Lewin

Welcome to Country

Welcome and Intro

Sharon Lewin, Peter Doherty Institute For Infection And Immunity, VIC

Challenges of designing a COVID-19 vaccine

Paul Young, The University of Queensland


10:00 – 10:20


10:20 – 11:30

SESSION 1. New basic science on SARS-CoV-2 origins, variants and immune responses

Chair: Heidi Drummer, Burnet Institute and Wei Zhao, Peter Doherty Institute

Current knowledge on the origins of SARS-CoV-2
Edward Holmes, University of Sydney

Current understanding of the differential immune response to SARS-CoV-2 natural infection and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines
Jennifer Juno, University of Melbourne

Current understanding of the virology and neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern
Stuart Turville, Assoc Prof Kirby Institute

Q&A and Panel Discussion

11:30 – 12:15


12:15 – 13:25

SESSION 2. Clinical sequelae following SARS-CoV-2 infection and emerging treatments for SARS-CoV-2 infection

Chair: Adeeba Kamarulzaman, University of Malaysia and James McMahon, Alfred Hospital, Monash University

Living with Long COVID
Q&A with Mirabai Nicholson-McKellar and Edwina Wright, Alfred Health and Monash University, VIC 

Clinical sequelae following SARS-CoV-2 infection
Gail Matthews, The Kirby Institute UNSW

Efficacy of camostat mesilate (TMPRSS2 inhibitor) in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection
Ole Schmeltz Søgaard, Aarhus University, Denmark

Immunomodulatory strategies against severe SARS-CoV-2 infection
Steve Webb, Professor of Critical Care Research, Monash University

Q&A and Panel Discussion

13:25 – 14:00


14:00 – 15:10

SESSION 3. Epidemiological tools required for heavy lifting during the COVID-19 pandemic: Nowcasting, mandatory masking wearing and prioritisation of Indigenous leadership

Chair: Margie Danchin, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and John Kaldor, Kirby Institute

Nowcasting the COVID-19 pandemic
Kathy Leung, University of Hong Kong

The role of a mandatory mask policy in reducing COVID-19 cases in Melbourne, Australia
Nick Scott, Burnet Institute

Prioritising Indigenous engagement when planning for infectious diseases outbreaks and pandemics
Professor James Ward, Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, University of Queensland, QLD

Q&A and Panel Discussion

15:10 – 15:30


15:30 – 16:40

SESSION 4. COVID-19: an examination of the Social Aspects of Masks, Mathematical Models and Vaccine acceptability in PLWHIV and PrEP Users

Chair: Kiran Pienaar, Deakin University and Bridget Haire, Kirby Institute, UNSW

COVID-19 vaccine acceptability among people living with HIV (PLWHIV) and PrEP users
Dean Murphy, Alfred Hospital

Facemasks: historical and theoretical perspectives and use during COVID-19
Deborah Lupton, UNSW

Bringing Maths and Modelling for public understanding and social change during pandemics

Kari Lancaster, UNSW

Q&A and Panel Discussion

16:40 – 17:00

Conference Wrap Up / Closing

Final comments and closing

Edwina Wright, Conference co-chair, Alfred Hospital, Monash Central Clinical School

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