Annual Ruth Bishop Address

Professor Ruth Bishop AC led a team of researchers to the landmark discovery of rotavirus in 1973, a major breakthrough in tackling one of the most significant causes of infant mortality worldwide.

The team’s discovery kick-started the successful 30 year endeavour to develop a rotavirus vaccine. An oral rotavirus vaccination has been part of the National Immunisation Program for all Australian infants since July 2007, which prevents 10,000 children’s hospitalisations in Australia, and the loss of up to half a million young lives every year.

In 2009, the World Health Organization in recommended all children be vaccinated against rotavirus infection. If implemented effectively, this will see millions of lives saved in developing countries.

Professor Bishop was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1996 and then promoted to Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2019 for her service to global child health through the development of improved vaccines for paediatric gastroenteritis, and to medical research. Professor Bishop was also the first woman to be awarded the Florey Medal in 2013.

In 2019 the Centre established an annual health security address, named in honour of Professor Ruth Bishop for her leadership and deditcation to science and global health.

Click here to access the transcript and podcast of the 2019 address by Professor Sharon Lewin of the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.