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Global Infectious Disease Threats

As we have experienced in the COVID-19 pandemic, global infectious disease threats have the potential to impact all of us. Whether it's existing pathogens like influenza, re-emerging infectious diseases (ERIDs), new diseases or the growing danger of antimicrobial resistance, Burnet is committed to addressing these threats by leveraging our expertise in biomedical research and public health.

Our main objectives are to:

  • improve understanding of infectious disease threats and apply new tools to enhance health security
  • contribute to strengthening core public health system capacities required to prepare for and respond to infectious disease threats in the Asia-Pacific region
  • make a major contribution to respond to tuberculosis, especially drug-resistant tuberculosis, in the Asia-Pacific region
  • increase the capacity of health professionals, researchers, policymakers and the general community in relation to health security through education and training in Australia, our region and globally.

Our research focuses on:

  • mapping immune response to pandemic influenza in Australia
  • improving avian influenza capacity of the National Institute of Health and Research Development in Indonesia
  • monitoring drug-resistant tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and neighbouring countries
  • vaccine development against influenza
  • identifying novel drug targets and developing antivirals for the treatment of respiratory viral pathogens
  • developing rapid point-of-care tests for the detection of respiratory viruses
  • molecular epidemiology of ERIDs in Asia and the Pacific regions
  • studying the determinants of and modelling influenza transmission in households and schools
  • investigating the transmission of drug-resistant tuberculosis in South Africa
  • teaching qualitative and quantitative methods to research ERIDs
  • providing epidemiological expertise to assist with managing outbreaks of ERIDs.

We have a number of collaborations addressing rising multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and novel diseases like avian influenza, pandemic influenza H1N1 (swine flu) and SARS. We are also a member of the World Health Organization’s Global Outbreak and Response Network (GOARN), which includes 260 other technical institutions worldwide, working together to stop outbreaks anywhere and anytime.


of participants in the first two rounds of an online training program designed to provide clinical and management staff with the essential knowledge they need to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in PNG said they would recommend it and found it informative and useful. Burnet was an implementation partner in delivering this online learning program.


is the number of foundation partners alongside Burnet who have come together to establish the Australian Institute for Infectious Disease (AIID). It will be a collaboration involving world-leading medical research and public health organisations in Victoria that allows access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and technologies to further enhance our capacity to protect Australia and the region against infectious diseases and increase our pandemic preparedness.


is the number of countries involved in the COMBAT AMR Project. As part of this Doherty Institute-led project, Burnet researchers are working in partnership with government, National Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Committees and public health counterparts in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Samoa to support the prevention, diagnosis, surveillance and management of AMR pathogens under the framework of existing National AMR Action Plans and priorities.


is the number of participants from key institutions in PNG who received hands-on mentorship from Burnet researchers as part of a consortium of institutions led by Menzies School of Health Research, to conduct their own operational research projects on drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB).

Working Groups

Burnet is an Australian-based medical research and public health institute and international non-government organisation that is working towards a more equitable world through better health.