The power of people & science
The Australian Women's Weekly|Christmas 2021
“I kept thinking to myself, as hard as it is, this is a very special time in our history.”
SHARON LEWIN

This time last year, Professor Sharon Lewin was “on a high”. The world-renowned HIV researcher and Director of The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity was looking forward to a summer break and “thinking that we had a pretty smooth run ahead”.

“Melbourne had eradicated COVID, which was an incredible feat,” she tells The Weekly. “Our freedom at that stage was very welcome, very celebrated, though I knew it was precarious. I thought we would roll into delivering vaccines, which were looking promising as well, with a bit of time up our sleeves. What I didn’t anticipate was Delta.”

In May this year, Australia’s first cases of the Delta variant appeared in Sydney, and the battle was on again, in no small part waged with armour furnished by the team at the Doherty. They were the first scientists outside China to grow the virus and share details of its make-up with the world, and they went on to provide modeling on which the federal government based its road map out of lockdowns.

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