1960s Ross River fever discovered

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  • In 1960 QIMR scientists isolated Murray Valley encephalitis virus from mosquitoes, which paved the way for discovery of other arboviruses like Ross River virus.
  • Dr Derrick became Director of the Institute in 1961. 
  • Ross River virus was discovered in 1963 by Professor Ralph Doherty who went on to succeed Dr Derrick as Institute Director in 1966.
  • QIMR established an oncology section to investigate cancer-causing viruses. Cancer cells were taken from Burkitt’s lymphoma patients in Papua New Guinea, which led to the discovery that the Epstein-Barr virus (which causes glandular fever) can cause lymphoma and some forms of leukaemia. In 1968, this same virus was found to immortalise white blood cells leading to research of these immune cells and their DNA.