Working within the restrictions of social distancing and increased safety protocols, there are hundreds of scientists in Australia repurposing high-containment labs, existing drugs and therapies into COVID-19 research facilities.
“The healthcare workers on the frontline are our heroes in this pandemic, and for many medical researchers this is a time where we can support their work more than ever,” said the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) President Professor Jonathan Carapetis.
Across AAMRI’s members there are more than 100 research projects currently in progress relating to COVID-19, covering vaccines, drug trials, diagnostics, screening tests, mental health and indigenous health.
“When we started compiling the list and saw the range and breadth of projects that had quickly gotten off the ground, it was heart-warming. This is why we’re here,” said Professor Carapetis.
The projects are funded from philanthropic gifts, government grants and income sources from commercialisation.
“When the Doherty Institute was the first to successfully grow the virus in a lab outside China, they were also the first to share it with public health organisations and The World Health Organization. Sharing our learnings and being collaborative are key to working fast and effectively, and we’re seeing fantastic examples of this across the sector,” Professor Carapetis said.
“We don’t know which of these projects will end up being the key to solving this health crisis, but we do know this won’t be the last pandemic we face. Having the ability to mobilise our sector in this way makes me feel confident we’re doing all we can. And that we’ll also be ready for what comes next.”