26 September 2023

CSIRO sets up ‘Team Australia’ for next pandemic

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The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has outlined in a new report on how Australia can improve its resilience to future pandemics, reduce its economic impact and protect the community.

Unveiling CSIRO’s Strengthening Australia’s Pandemic Preparedness, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mar Butler said the report focused on the planning and preparedness required for infectious disease outbreaks in the future, and was built on the lessons learnt over the past two and a half years.

Chief Executive of CSIRO, Larry Marshall said preparing and protecting the nation from pandemics would take a “Team Australia” approach.

“[The Report] highlights six science and technology areas critical to minimising the impact of pandemics in Australia,” Dr Marshall said.

“It also makes 20 recommendations that could reduce impacts while improving economic, social and health outcomes,” he said.

“The Report demonstrates how a more efficient and technology-enabled health system could act as an infectious disease early warning system, allow new treatments to be developed and deployed quickly, let patients be diagnosed and treated sooner, ensure the security of our vaccine supply, and better inform decision making.”

Dr Marshall said the Report identified six key science and technology areas to improve the country’s pandemic preparedness, including: preclinical capabilities for vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics; onshore vaccine manufacturing; therapeutics repurposing and novel antivirals; point of care diagnostics; genomic analysis of pathogens; and data sharing.

Strengthening Australia’s Pandemic Preparedness says that science and technology can complement effective, short-term strategies such as lockdowns, border closures and quarantine approaches while mitigating their significant social, health and economic costs,” the Chief Executive said.

CSIRO’s 48-page report can be downloaded at this PS News link.

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