The CSIRO Chairman's Medal.

The CSIRO Chairman's Medal.

CSIRO 2013 Chairman's Medal recipient

The Hendra Virus Research Team has received the prestigious CSIRO Chairman’s Medal for their outstanding achievement of developing the first equine vaccine against the deadly Hendra virus.

  • 3 October 2012 | Updated 14 October 2013

The Hendra Virus Research Team

Time: 4 min 38 sec | View transcript

The CSIRO Chairman’s Medal honours our most outstanding scientific achievement. It is awarded to the scientist or team whose research is of national or international importance in advancing scientific knowledge, technology application or commercialisation.

In 2013, the Chairman’s Medal was awarded to the Hendra Virus Research Team for their pioneering research that has led to the development of the first equine vaccine and a human treatment against the deadly Hendra virus.

The incidence of emerging human infectious diseases which originate in animals is rising throughout the world. In Australia, increased reports of Hendra virus infection in horses, accompanied by ongoing potential human exposure, highlight the risk such serious pathogens pose to our community.

Through innovative science and international collaboration, the Hendra Virus Research Team has made a sustained and significant contribution to understanding and mitigating the threat posed by this novel virus, and has become one of the world’s leading emerging zoonotic disease research teams.

The most recent outcome of their work, the Equivax® HeV horse vaccine, will save human lives by protecting horses from the disease, thereby breaking the only known Hendra virus transmission pathway from bats to humans.

Hendra virus is a highly pathogenic emerging zoonotic infection harboured by Australian flying foxes with sporadic spill-over directly to horses. Infection of people has typically occurred after close contact with terminally ill horses, with over 50 per cent mortality.

The launch of the equine Hendra virus vaccine has been heralded internationally as an outstanding example of the One Health approach for control of a major public health threat.

The Hendra Virus Research Teams achievements are providing the Australian community with a world-class innovative and strategic emergency disease response capability at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory. They are helping enhance Australia’s biosecurity and limit the wide ranging impacts that a new disease can have in our closely interconnected and highly mobile world.

Team members:

Dr Deborah Middleton, Professor Linfa Wang, Professor Christopher C Broder, Dr Jackie Pallister, Gary Crameri, Dr Katharine Bossart, Reuben Klein, Dr Mark Wareing, Dr JinAn Huang, Dr Trent Monroe, Jennifer Barr, Meng Yu, Jessica Haining, Rachel Arkinstall, Dr John Bingham, Dr Dimiter S Dimitrov, Dr Zhongyu Zhu, Dr Zia Hashmi, Dr Nigel Edwards, Dr Anthony Cameron, Dr Glenn Marsh, Dr John White, Sarah-Jane Eastwood, Leah Frazer, Dr Wojtek Michalski, Jean Payne, Jennifer Harper, Dr Mark Ford, Sandy Matheson, Noel Collins, Chris Darcy, Professor Martyn Jeggo, Dr Bryan Eaton, John Muschialli.

Read more about the CSIRO Awards.