The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health emergency caused by the emergence of the SARS CoV2 virus from animal hosts. QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute was established 75 years ago to deal with infectious and tropical diseases plaguing Queensland and our near neighbours. Our breadth of expertise and knowledge in relation to these diseases allowed us to rapidly mobilise resources and establish a broad range of research projects to tackle COVID-19.

Today we have one of the most advanced and secure biosecurity laboratory in Queensland, specifically designed to safely research deadly viruses like COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. This facility was quickly adapted to grow the SARS CoV2 virus so we can identify new anti-viral drugs and study how the virus interacts with our cells.

QIMR Berghofer scientists have taken up the challenges presented by COVID-19 and embarked on research across a range of areas.


  • screen new and existing drugs to prevent and treat COVID-19
  • test who has immunity to the virus and how long it lasts
  • identify new and existing drugs to prevent inflammation and heart damage caused by COVID-19
  • understand why some patients become severely sick while others develop only mild symptoms
  • understand the virus’s effect on the lungs and respiratory system
  • investigate the immune response to COVID-19 in cancer patients
  • model COVID-19 outbreak scenarios in Queensland
  • understand the impact of isolation on mental health as we respond to COVID-19