COVID-19 Critical Research Programme

The Australian National Phenome Centre is undertaking major research to better understand and mitigate the COVID-19 virus pandemic threat.

Metabolic phenotyping, Precision medicine, Phenoconversion, Biomarker discovery

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry

Professor Jeremy Nicholson

What is the need for this project?

Since its emergence, there has been considerable progress made in developing tests for COVID-19 with a reasonably rapid turn-around time of a few hours.

However, there is still a critical unmet need in understanding how the virus establishes itself in the host with substantial variation in susceptibility in impact; from little or no apparent effect to death.

Understanding the pathways to infection and the biological consequents will enable the development of effective treatments and vaccines to mitigate the current threat. This will also prepare us for subsequent viral threats.

What research are we undertaking?

The ANPC’s COVID-19 Critical Research Programme embraces the next generation of medical practice beyond genomics known as metabonomics and metabolic phenotyping, also known as biological fingerprinting.

Broad and deep metabolic analysis of blood plasma and urine samples is being performed in the laboratories of the ANPC.  It uses a range of state-of-the-art NMR, mass spectrometry and data modelling approaches to create informative translational models.

What are the key outcomes?

Ultimately, we will be able to better understand COVID-19 and the complex genetic, environmental and lifestyle interactions that give rise to the differential severity of the disease and subsequent recovery.

The profiles developed from this research will allow us to identify the pathways to infection and the biological consequences, crucial knowledge for the development of effective treatments and vaccines.