2019 Playford Trust Regional Science & Engineering Scholarship
Marine mollusc extracts represent an almost entirely unexploited source of broad-spectrum antivirals against human viruses. My Honours project involved assessing the hemolymph (blood fluid) from the greenlip abalone (Haliotis laevigata) and Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) for antiviral activity against Human Coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E).
Antiviral activity was assessed using a 50% tissue culture infectious dose assay, which is a universally accepted virological technique. Both H. laevigata and C. gigas demonstrated significant antiviral activity against HCoV-229E in vitro.
The mode of antiviral activity was multifaceted for both extracts and likely involved both disruption of viral attachment and entry and intracellular stages of infection. These findings can form the basis for future research, which will hopefully involve identification of the specific antiviral effector molecules within mollusc hemolymph.
I was fortunate enough to receive First Class Honours for my research and hope to see it published in the future. Since completing my Honours, I have accepted a full-time position as a research and development technician at Clean Seas Seafood Pty Ltd.
I am very excited about this opportunity and am forever grateful to the Playford Trust for their continued support throughout my studies.