Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute

Military personnel operating in conflict or disaster zones in the tropics are unable to completely avoid mosquito bites that may cause malaria. To further complicate matters, malaria parasites often develop resistance to drugs over time, meaning the ongoing discovery and testing of new anti-malarial medications is crucial for deploying troops but also for vulnerable communities around the world who are at risk from the disease. 

The Australian Defence Force Malaria and Infectious Disease Institute (ADFMIDI) is a world-recognised centre for malaria research and training. The director of the institute is Professor G. Dennis Shanks. Formerly known as the Australian Army Malaria Institute (AMI), ADFMIDI is located at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera.

The Institute's main mission is to ensure that ADF personnel have the best possible protection against malaria and other vector-borne diseases. 

ADFMIDI is a mixed organisation of civilian and military scientific and medical staff that conducts scientific research independently and in collaboration with a number of other research organisations, including the University of Queensland and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. 

ADFMIDI conducts laboratory and clinical medical research to decrease the risk of ADF members becoming ill from infections spread by insects such as mosquitoes. The Institute also provides clinical advice to Defence health practitioners, diagnostic testing, training, regional capacity building, and is a WHO Collaborating Centre for Malaria. While its primary focus is on malaria, ADFMIDI is interested in any infectious diseases that might interfere with military operations. 

ADFMIDI has strong historical links to the regional US military medical laboratories in Bangkok and Singapore and has been collaborating with the Peoples Army of Vietnam for more than a decade. The Australian Government’s recently reaffirmed commitment to eliminate malaria in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030 involves ADFMIDI as the World Health Organization’s Regional Collaborating Centre for the Western Pacific.

Most clinical trials conducted by the ADFMIDI have been Phase IV trials of TGA registered medications, although the trials involving the anti-malarial medication tafenoquine were Phase III trials. Any clinical trials involving ADF members in the field or on operations are done after the Phase I and II trials have been conducted in a more controlled civilian environment. More information about the regulation of clinical trials involving unapproved therapeutic goods is available from the Therapeutic Goods Administration website. General information about clinical trials in Australia is available from the Australian Clinical Trials website and from the National Health and Medical Research Council website.