Coronavirus Action Fund

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How Your Donation Will Make a Difference

Your support can make a huge difference to the development of medical research projects, preventative programs, and support for frontline RBWH hospital staff. You can choose to support the following projects through the RBWH Foundation Coronavirus Action Fund:

1. COVID-19 Medical Research, Preventative and Mental Health Projects

2. Medical Research Grants for Emergency Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Intensive Care
The Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital Foundation will build on our acclaimed Research Grants for Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital clinicians, medical practitioners and nurses at the hospital. The scholarships will support research in emergency medicine, infectious diseases, and intensive care medicine. Help us create a very important legacy by supporting this vital research. These research grants represent a commitment to excellence in research and will lead to life-saving medical breakthroughs.

3. RBWH Hospital Staff Support
Hospital staff are modern-day heroes who work tirelessly to provide the very best care. The Coronavirus Action Fund will provide additional support to RBWH staff through staff well-being programs and initiatives such as our Coffee Cart with a ❤️ Heart.

You can show your thanks and warm the hearts of our hardworking frontline RBWH staff by buying them a coffee and leaving a ‘Thanks a Latte’ message, so they know how valued they are. Click below to buy one coffee for $3, six coffees for $18 or 16 coffees for $48. Click here buy a coffee.

All donations over $2 are tax-deductible.

Medical research, and preventative and mental health projects supported by the RBWH Foundation may include:

Medication dosage for seriously ill patients
Although the majority of people have minor symptoms from COVID-19, some people become critically ill. Researchers are conducting analyses on the impact of severe novel coronavirus infection on levels of medications in patients’ blood and lungs to determine the right dose of medications to be administered. This will prevent side effects and will guide the types of medication and dosage to increase the likelihood of recovering from COVID-19.

Repurposed TB vaccine to protect frontline healthcare workers
All vaccines stimulate the immune system. An old vaccine against tuberculosis, called BCG, has been shown to improve the immune system for at least six months. In this way, it is known to prevent viral infections. This trial aims to show if the BCG vaccine can prevent frontline healthcare workers developing COVID-19 and other winter respiratory infections.

App to protect vulnerable elderly in nursing facilities
It is of absolute importance that our vulnerable elderly populations are protected. A program is being developed to prevent the introduction of the novel coronavirus into nursing homes by training staff members to have the heightened self-awareness of the risk that coming to work sick may pose to aged care residents. A state-of-the-art app is being developed which will encourage positive behaviours of workers so that everything is being done to protect residents.

Blood donor sampling to measure levels of undetected ‘prior’ infections
Some overseas studies have found large proportions of cases of COVID-19 in people who have had minimal or even no symptoms. This project will monitor the level of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in blood donors in Brisbane. Blood from 500 donors will be sampled every two weeks to determine previously undiagnosed levels of novel coronavirus in the Brisbane region. * The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood service stresses there are no confirmed reports of coronavirus being transmitted by blood transfusion anywhere in the world and that blood donations are still critically important. The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood service strict screening process means it doesn’t allow people who are unwell to donate blood and blood is also screened to ensure its safety.

Protocols for Point-of-Care testing
A number of commercial point-of-care diagnostic testing options (Cepheid, Abbott) and research-use-only diagnostic testing options for the novel coronavirus are now available. However, there is no understanding of their acceptability to the residential aged care workforce, or exactly how they would be deployed in fever clinics and other sites separate to traditional places of testing. This research will investigate the logistic issues in how point-of-care testing would take place and what impact it would have on patient outcomes.

Telehealth to reduce anxiety in residential aged care
85% of residents in Australian aged care facilities report at least one diagnosed mental health or behavioural disorder, ranging from dementia through to depression and anxiety. However, mental health services are not routinely available in this era of ‘lock downs’ due to COVID-19. While medications may be used to treat some symptoms of anxiety there is concern about ‘over-medication’ of elderly people. This study is of a unique telehealth intervention to reduce anxiety in the elderly without the need for drug therapy.

Software to help track spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes and hospitals
Software is currently utilised by hospital infection control teams in visualising hospital-acquired infections. Researchers will modify the software to examine cases of COVID-19 at any residential aged care facility by place and time. Researchers aim to overlie this data with staff allocations to gain real-time understanding of the spread of COVID-19 in any given facility. An assessment of user perspectives and feedback through interviews and focus groups will be performed.

COVID-19 related superbug treatments
Experience overseas has been that a substantial number of COVID-19 patients have developed infections after ventilation use due to bacteria that are resistant to all, or almost all, antibiotics. The research program, led by a team of RBWH doctors, will study antibiotic resistance in Australia, Europe and Asia to determine the best way to treat the superbugs which can follow serious COVID-19 infections.

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Projects now being supported:

Treatment Trials

Ascot Drug Trials
The clinical drug trials (ASCOT), which will test the effectiveness of two existing drugs in patients hospitalised with COVID-19, are open for patient enrolments. Patients are eligible if they are admitted to hospital with COVID-19 infection, but not sick enough to require admission to intensive care units (ICU).

The number of hospitals involved has grown to around 70 Australian hospitals, in every state and territory, and over 10 hospitals in New Zealand. The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Pharmacy is currently distributing the drugs needed for the trials to all hospitals involved.

Due to Australia’s social distancing policies, there are currently less than the expected number of patients available for trial participation, but this may change over the coming months and the research team are also discussing partnerships with international hospitals where infection rates are higher.

Both drugs have shown activity in the test tube against COVID-19, however, more research is needed to test their effectiveness in hospitalised COVID-19 patients. A COVID-19 vaccine is still likely to be 6 to 18 months away, so treatment testing and development is vital.

Alliance Multi Therapy Trials
Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) researchers are leading a study formed through an international alliance between medical researchers, Gina Rinehart and hospitals to test a ‘multi therapy’ for COVID-19.

The trial, called The ALLIANCE COVID-19 trials, will be the first in the world to test a multiple combination of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, zinc, the antibiotic azithromycin and high-dose intravenous vitamin C.

Heparin, or an anticoagulant suitable for each patient, will also be recommended for treating Doctors to include after medical tests, unless contra indicated.

What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are research investigations in which people volunteer to test new treatments, interventions or tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage various diseases or medical conditions. Some investigations look at how people respond to a new intervention and what side effects might occur. This helps to determine if a new intervention works, if it is safe, and if it is better than the interventions that are already available.

Clinical trials might also compare existing interventions, test new ways to use or combine existing interventions or observe how people respond to other factors that might affect their health (such as dietary changes). The World Health Organisation (WHO) definition for a clinical trial is ‘any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes’.

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