Supporting nearly a fifth of the world’s population, the rapid economic, social and political change in China in recent years has had a major, but uneven, impact upon health and wellbeing. In 2018, life expectancy in China was 78 for females and 75 for males.

Health Challenges

The disease burden has largely shifted from communicable to non-communicable diseases and injuries for a significant portion of the population, while in other parts of the vast country morbidity and mortality and preventable and treatable illnesses remains high.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in China in early 2020 saw huge parts of the country locked down, with more than 83,600 confirmed cases and 4,600 deaths by July.

With a complex health financing system decentralised to the lowest administrative level, there is widespread reliance on service fees and long-standing underinvestment in public health service. This has caused major inequalities between eastern and western China, rich and poor, and urban and rural populations.

Major health challenges facing the country, according to the World Health Organization, include:

  • Increasingly elderly population

  • Communicable diseases and malnutrition

  • The second highest tuberculosis burden in the world, with around 900,000 cases diagnosed in 2017

  • Lower respiratory infections and hepatitis B

  • Infant and under-five mortality rates remain high where access to services is low, due to communicable diseases and perinatal conditions

  • The infant mortality rate in 2018 was 10 deaths for every 1,000 live births.

Burnet’s Work

Nanjing Biopoint Diagnostics Technology Co. Ltd. was registered by Burnet Institute as a company in China in 2013. BioPoint works in close collaboration with Burnet researchers to develop novel diagnostic tools in areas of unmet medical need.

Led by Associate Professor and Burnet Deputy Director Dr David Anderson, Burnet’s team is at the forefront of the development of cutting-edge Rapid Point-of-Care diagnostic tools to aid in the fight against diseases including HIV, sepsis, hepatitis E, and COVID-19.

Through BioPoint, Burnet is able to fast-track the production of new products, allowing for better testing for infectious diseases in areas where laboratory and hospital testing facilities are insufficient.

Contact Details

For more information about our work in China, please contact:

Burnet Institute

[email protected]




Current Projects

  • Gender Counts

  • Improved point-of-care test to eliminate congenital syphilis

  • Optima HIV Modelling

  • Rapid review of maternal health recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Sexual and reproductive health in Asia and the Pacific

  • SRH survey of Chinese-speaking international students

Past Projects

  • Accelerating ART initiation among Infants (AAMI Study)

  • ALT point-of-care diagnostic to detect liver disease

  • Strengthening the control of tuberculosis: China and Australia's partnership

  • TB-MAC Multi-modelling Exercise