Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease which is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Its impact can vary between people, from mild symptoms to serious live-threatening illness.

As a newly discovered disease, much is still being learned about COVID-19. At present, symptoms are known to include:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Tiredness
  • Aches and pains can occur
  • Sore throat can occur
  • Diarrhea can occur
  • Loss of taste or smell can occur
  • Serious symptoms may include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, loss of speech or movement.


While COVID-19 is known to be highly infectious, there are actions that can be taken to prevent infection and slow transmission of COVID-19:

  • Washing hands regularly with soap and water, or cleaning them with alcohol based hand sanitiser
  • Maintaining physical distance from other people
  • Avoiding touching face
  • Wearing a face mask
  • Staying home if feeling unwell.

How the Florey is making a difference

Since the early descriptions of COVID-19 in late 2019, many researchers at the Florey have turned their attention to this global public health crisis. The Florey’s research into COVID-19 includes building scientific knowledge of the disease and biological mechanisms involved, and translational research including discovery of new therapeutics or treatments.

In May 2020, Professor Kevin Barnham and Dr Leah Beauchamp were among the first in the world to warn of possible neurological impacts of COVID-19 by drawing on the evidence base and their combined expertise in Parkinson’s disease and the olfactory system. In December 2020, Professor Clive May and Dr Yugeesh Lankadeva published their results of a specially formulated mega-dose of Vitamin C which showed efficacy in treating a critically-ill COVID-19 patient with sepsis-induced multi-organ failure. Their work is now in clinical trial.

While the world faces this unprecedented crisis, Florey researchers continue to use their expertise to build the scientific understanding and develop new measures in the fight against COVID-19.

Support and information

Information and guidance around COVID-19 continues to evolve as the world learns more about the illness. We recommend consulting the guidance from the health department of your state or national government. In Victoria, information can be accessed through the Department of Health and Human Services and in Australia information is available through the Department of Health.

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