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Science heroes of COVID-19

Heroes of COVID-19 - CovidBaseAU

Meet Aussies who have played key roles in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Living through a pandemic has definitely given us an even greater appreciation of the incredible work scientists do. From vaccines and research, to data and air purification, the following heroes of COVID-19 blow our minds with their ingenuity and passion for keeping us all safe.

Wesley, Jack + Darcy
Website creators, CovidBaseAU

Pandemic role: These three teens from Melbourne are behind CovidBaseAU, a website that breaks down Australian and global data on infections, hospitalisations, deaths and vaccinations.

Looking ahead: “We intend to keep it running and do our part in informing the community with insightful COVID-19 data.”

Dr Mohamed Fareh
Senior research fellow, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Heroes of COVID-19: Mohamed

Pandemic role: Mohamed and a team of scientists discovered how to stop the
SARS-CoV-2 virus from replicating in infected human cells. This is a huge step
towards finding a treatment for COVID-19.

Professor Raina MacIntyre
Head of the Biosecurity Program, Kirby Institute

Heroes of COVID-19 Raina MacIntyre

Pandemic role: Raina runs a research program that includes epidemiology, vaccinology, mathematical modelling and infectious diseases. She’s also involved in COVID-19 research studies that help inform national and international policy in disease control.

Dr Warish Ahmed
Senior research scientist, CSIRO

Heroes of COVID-19 - Dr Warish Ahmed

Pandemic role: Warish leads a team analysing wastewater samples, looking for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in sewage to help detect the virus ahead of an outbreak.

What he loves about his job: “I love problem-solving through cutting-edge research and science.”

Professor Tony Cunningham + Dr Eunok Lee
Virologist and postdoctoral research scientist, The Westmead Institute of Medical Research

Heroes of COVID-19
Dr Eunok Lee (third from left) and Professor Tony Cunningham (first on right).

Pandemic role: Tony and Eunok are combining virology knowledge and computer science skills to come up with a T-cell COVID-19 booster shot.

Tony’s advice for future virologists: “Virology is of vital importance, underpinning the development of crucial vaccines and antiviral agents.”

Dr Mitra Safavi-Naeini + ShanShan Wang
Particle physicist and industrial designer, ANSTO/nandin hub

ANSTO scientists

Pandemic role: Mitra, ShanShan and other STEM pros from ANSTO teamed up for NASA’s Space Apps COVID-19 challenge to work out how to purify air in enclosed public spaces. Read more about their winning solution here.

Want to read about other heroes of COVID-19? Meet more scientists with the skills to fight the virus, and check out how engineers are doing their bit too.

This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Science 2022.

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