26 September 2023

CSIRO joins hunt for virus cure

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Scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have joined the global race to develop a vaccine for novel coronavirus.

Chief Executive of CSIRO, Larry Marshall said CSIRO scientists had been engaged by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to help determine the characteristics of the virus – a key step in developing a new vaccine.

“CSIRO has been on the front line of biosecurity for 100 years,” Dr Marshall said, “from hosting Australia’s most secure biosecurity lab, to developing the world’s first effective flu treatment and a vaccine for the Hendra virus, to more recent research on pathogens like SARS, CSIRO has a long history in keeping Australians safe from the threat of disease.”

He said the work would be undertaken at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), CSIRO’s high-containment facility in Geelong, Victoria.

“CSIRO is uniquely placed to combine our deep expertise in animal and human health, with capability in genetics, data and machine learning, to help fight this virus,” Dr Marshall said.

Director of Health and Biosecurity at CSIRO, Rob Grenfell said the research aimed to paint a clearer picture of the new coronavirus, including how long it takes to develop and replicate, how it impacts on the respiratory system and how it can be transmitted.

“Infectious diseases like the new coronavirus are complex and pose a major challenge to human health,” Dr Grenfell said.

“Through this project we will use our globally unique scientific capability to answer key questions about how the coronavirus behaves,” he said.

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