Clinical trials and infectious diseases

Research Overview

The broad themes of our research:

Clinical trials and cohorts for infectious diseases

Our aim is to optimise treatments for common infectious diseases and to see these findings directly applied to patients around the world as rapidly as possible. Studies led by our group and partners include the Staphylococcus aureus Network Adaptive Platform trial (SNAP) and the Australasian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT). These studies involve collaborations with hospitals around the world and use novel clinical trial methodologies to enhance trial efficiency and flexibility. We also design and help coordinate cohort studies such as for invasive Strep A infections and hepatitis B in northern Australia.

Skin health and streptococcal and staphylococcal genomics and modelling

Skin infections caused by Streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus and their downstream sequelae cause a heavy burden of disease throughout the world. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are particularly affected in Australia. Our group uses bacterial whole genome sequencing paired with mathematical modelling to understand how skin pathogens spread, evolve, develop resistance to antibiotics, and how interventions such as vaccination might impact on disease prevalence.


  • Steven Tong, Unit Head
  • Jocelyn Mora, Staphylococcus aureus Network Adaptive Platform Trial Manager
  • Naomi Perry, Australasian COVID-19 Trial Manager
  • Grace McPhee, Australasian COVID-19 Trial Project Officer
  • Christine Sommerville, Clinical Trial Data Manager
  • Eileen Lam, Project Officer
  • Jake Lacey, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • George Heroit, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Aaron Weinman, PhD Student
  • Taylah James, Master of Biomedical Science Student
  • Patrick Crock, Master of Biomedical Science Student


  • 2018-2021: Medical Research Future Fund Clinician Researcher 333,710
  • 2020: New Zealand Health Research CouncilAustralasian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT) (HRC 20-1068)766,113 NZD
  • 2020: New Zealand Health Research CouncilStaphylococcus aureus network adaptive platform trial (SNAP) (HRC 20/344)1,197,167 NZD
  • 2020: NHMRC APPRISE CIAAustralasian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT)40,000
  • 2020: NHMRC HOT NORTH Pilot project CIBNational Antimicrobial Surveillance Academy for Indigenous Health Care Providers: antimicrobial surveillance, stewardship, sensitivity25,000
  • 2020-2024: NHMRC CIAThe Staphylococcus aureus Network Adaptive Platform Trial (1184238)4,953,507
  • 2019-2023: NHMRC CIBA novel genotype of hepatitis B virus in Indigenous Australians with an aggressive phenotype and poor vaccine efficacy: implications for clinical care and public health policy (1156722)1,762,771
  • 2018-2023: NHMRC Partnership Grant CIEHepatitis B in the Northern Territory: Hep B PAST (1151837)1,432,909
  • 2017: NHMRC HOT NORTH Pilot project CIBUnderstanding current antimicrobial prescribing practice in remote Aboriginal primary health care clinics across northern Australia36,500
  • 2017: NHMRC HOT NORTH Pilot project CIBDevelopment of methods to rapidly track pathogen and antibiotic resistance profiles from skin sores in northern Australia36,500
  • 2017: NHMRC HOT NORTH Pilot project CIACASSETTE – Clindamycin Adjunctive therapy for Severe Staphylococcus aurEus TreaTment Evaluation36,500
  • 2017-2020: NHMRC CIBGeneration of protective immunity against severe influenza disease in Indigenous Australians (1122524)1,630,970
  • 2017-2021: NHMRC CICDenormalising skin infections in remote Aboriginal children:  a cluster randomised, stepped-wedge trial (1128950)1,818,581
  • 2017-2020: NHMRC AIImproving health outcomes in the tropical north: NHMRC Collaborative Research Programme (1131932)6,000,000

Research Publications

  1. Tong SYC, Lye DC, Yahav D, et al. Effect of Vancomycin or Daptomycin With vs Without an Antistaphylococcal β-Lactam on Mortality, Bacteremia, Relapse, or Treatment Failure in Patients With MRSA Bacteremia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA 2020; 323:527-537.
  2. Tong SYC, Davis JS, Eichenberger E, Holland T, Fowler VG. Staphylococcus aureus Infections: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Clinical Manifestations, and Management. Clin Microbiol Rev 2015;28:603-61
  3. Tong SYC, Schaumburg F, Ellington MJ, Corander J, Pichon B, Leendertz F, Bentley SD, Parkhill J, Holt DC, Peters G, Giffard PM. Novel staphylococcal species that form part of a Staphylococcus aureus related complex: the non-pigmented S. argenteus sp. nov. and the non-human primate associated S. schweitzeri sp. nov. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 2015;65:15-22
  4. Thevarajan I, Nguyen TO, Koutsakos M, Druce J, Carly L, van de Sandt C, Jia X, Nicholson S, Catton M, Cowie B, Tong SYC, Lewin SR, Kedzierska K. Breadth of concomitant immune responses prior to patient recovery: a case report of a non-severe COVID-19. Nat Med 2020; 26:453-455
  5. Bowen AC, Tong SYC, Andrews RM, O'Meara IM, McDonald MI, Chatfield MD, Currie BJ, Carapetis JR. Short-course oral co-trimoxazole versus intramuscular benzathine benzylpenicillin for impetigo in a highly endemic region: an open-label, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial. Lancet 2014;384:2132-40

Research Projects

For project inquiries, contact our research group head.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Research Group Leader Associate Professor Steven Tong

Department / Centre

Infectious Diseases

Unit / Centre

Clinical trials and infectious diseases

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