26 September 2023

CSIRO facility steps up for vaccine

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The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is to upgrade its research facility where scientists are currently testing potential vaccines for COVID-19.

Formerly known as the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), the Geelong research facility has been renamed the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) to reflect its ongoing disease protection efforts.

Chief Executive of CSIRO, Larry Marshall said diseases that passed from animals to humans, such as COVID-19 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) now accounted for almost 75 per cent of human infectious diseases.

“Our scientists across CSIRO are working around the clock to address the battle against COVID-19, but it is one we are well prepared for,” Dr Marshall said.

“The centre will continue to build on the expertise delivered through AAHL’s extensive biosecure laboratories combined with CSIRO’s expertise across science disciplines to predict, prevent and manage disease, and turn the breakthroughs of Australia’s medical research community into real world solutions for our greatest challenges, like pandemics,” he said.

He said funding of $220 million had been allocated for an upgrade of the facility, after CSIRO scientists began testing of COVID-19 vaccines last week.

Director of the ACDP, Professor Trevor Drew said the CSIRO’s COVID-19 work was an example of the criticality of a facility like ACDP.

“The activity being undertaken by CSIRO at the ACDP is tripartite, reflecting a multisectoral, one-health approach to disease preparedness across the three sectors of humans, animals and the environment which they share,” Professor Drew said.

“In providing a pipeline for rapid validation of a vaccine against this novel virus, we are carefully balancing operating at speed in response to a global public health emergency, we bridge the gap between academia and industry, in delivering the impactful and innovative science, for which CSIRO is renowned,” he said.

He said the CSIRO testing of potential vaccines for COVID-19 was expected to take three months.

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