Keeping ahead of a child killer: stopping gastro from birth

UPDATE 22 February 2018:  

A vaccine has been developed against rotavirus, which is the common cause  of severe diarrhoea and a killer of approximately 215,000 children under five globally each year.

The oral vaccine was given in three single doses, the first within five days of birth. After three doses of RV3-BB administered from birth:

  • 94 per cent of infants were protected in their first year of life against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis
  • 75 per cent of infants were protected to 18 months of age.

The success of the RV3-BB vaccine is the culmination of more than four decades of work, which started with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s Professor Ruth Bishop and the discovery of rotavirus in 1973.

The trial was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PT BioFarma.

Read the full media release on the MCRI website.

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A new rotavirus vaccine should soon be available thanks to a collaboration between PT Bio Farma and researchers in Melbourne and Yogyakarta. The new ‘RV3’ vaccine is aimed at protecting babies from birth, improving protection and simplifying delivery.

The current vaccine, available in Australia and only on the private market in Indonesia, can only be administered from six weeks of age.

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Radar-in-a-suitcase making bridges safer

Assessing ageing bridges just got safer and easier, thanks to a high-tech radar device that fits inside a suitcase.

Developed by Dr Lihai Zhang of The University of Melbourne as part of a collaborative research project supported by The Australia-Indonesia Centre, the IBIS-S radar technology can scan a bridge in 15 minutes from a kilometre away, quickly assessing its condition and stability.

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Earthquake-proofing ports

Researchers from The University of Melbourne are learning how to modify existing Indonesian and Australian ports so earthquakes don’t do such devastating damage to sea trade.

“What we currently have is a recipe for disaster. Some of the port infrastructure is over 100 years old and wasn’t designed to cope with the loads they are currently bearing, let alone an earthquake,” says Dr Massoud Sofi.

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Modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought

Dating of ancient human teeth discovered in a Sumatran cave site suggests modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The international research, led by Dr Kira Westaway from Macquarie University and published in Nature, has pushed back the timing of when humans first left Africa, their arrival in Southeast Asia, and the first time they lived in rainforests.

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Stories of Australian Science 2017

Making motorcycle clothing safer, a robotic arm for stroke rehab, prospecting for gold using prehistoric volcanoes—these are some of the highlights of the past year featured in Stories of Australian Science 2017.

Australian scientists are making silk-derived implants to fix damaged eardrums, and working to stop people going into flood waters. They’re flying unmanned drones to record our reefs in incredible detail, and teaching bots to search out and destroy crown-of-thorns starfish. They’re keeping stored red blood cells in shape, testing water safety with fingernail-sized sensors, expanding the net for gravitational waves, and much more.

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Supporting Australian science – 2017

Science in Public is a science communication business based in Melbourne, Australia, with a team of 12 staff and associates.

We have a passion for science. We encourage and challenge scientists to reach the public, politicians and the media, while staying true to their science. We mentor, train, plan, and benchmark. We produce websites, reports, books, videos, events and conferences.

You can read more about us at www.scienceinpublic.com.au

Stories of Australian Science grew out of our work hosting the World Conference of Science Journalists in Melbourne in 2007, where we realised that there was a hunger for more stories about the best of Australian science.

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Radar in a suitcase; rain gardens to grow food and stop floods; earthquake-proofing ports—The Australia-Indonesia Centre

The Australia-Indonesia Centre are its supporters are funding collaborative research in energy, health, infrastructure, urban water, and food and agriculture. Here are some highlights.

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Growing food and stopping floods with rain gardens

Small urban ‘rain gardens’ are popping up all around Australia and Indonesia to keep waterways free from pollutants, stop flooding and erosion, and to grow food.

Although they may look similar to a normal garden, beneath the surface rain gardens are a sandwich of layers of sand, gravel, roots and microbes through which polluted water passes and clean water exits, which can then be used for irrigation or washing.

Continue reading Growing food and stopping floods with rain gardens

Radar-in-a-suitcase makes bridges safer

Assessing ageing bridges just got safer and easier, thanks to a high-tech radar device that fits inside a suitcase.

Developed by Dr Lihai Zhang of The University of Melbourne as part of a collaborative research project supported by The Australia-Indonesia Centre, the IBIS-S radar technology can scan a bridge in 15 minutes from a kilometre away with an accuracy of 0.01mm, quickly assessing its condition and stability.

Continue reading Radar-in-a-suitcase makes bridges safer

Affordable, sustainable energy for all: the Australia-Indonesia Energy Cluster

Access to affordable, reliable energy transforms communities. For most Australian and Indonesian families and businesses, that energy still comes from national grids—the networks of power lines that connect users to power suppliers.

But about 67 million Indonesians—almost a third of the country’s population—are not on the grid. They either rely on expensive, non renewable sources of power—often diesel—or they have no access to power at all. That poses a critical challenge for sustainable development of Indonesia—a nation of islands. To meet the Government’s goal of 90 per cent electricity coverage by 2020 the country’s electricity generation must grow by nine per cent per year.

Continue reading Affordable, sustainable energy for all: the Australia-Indonesia Energy Cluster