Publish Date: 
Tuesday, August 30, 2022 - 13:15

TRI's CEO contributes to new CSIRO report charting Australia's preparedness for future pandemics

TRI’s CEO, Professor Scott Bell, has contributed to a CSIRO report that sets out how Australia can improve its resilience to future pandemics.

Professor Bell was one of 146 experts from 66 organisations across government, industry and the research sector, who contributed to the report, titled ‘Strengthening Australia’s Pandemic Preparedness’

The report highlights the science and technology Australia should prioritise to better prepare for future pandemics, and lessen the disruption caused by lockdowns, border controls and quarantine.

It assesses six critical science and technology areas and provides 20 recommendations on implementing them. 

These include: 

  • Increasing research and response capabilities for families of viruses that have high potential to cause pandemics to allow quicker development of medical countermeasures during a pandemic 
  • Diversifying and expanding Australia’s onshore vaccine manufacturing capabilities, to ensure the nation’s future supply
  • Researching the use of repurposed therapeutic medicines and new antivirals against priority families of viruses, so they can be swiftly developed and deployed during a pandemic
  • Increasing Australia’s capabilities and development of Point of Care Test (POCT) technologies, for quicker patient diagnosis and access to appropriate medical care
  • Scaling Australia’s genomic expertise into a national surveillance program, with cross-sectoral collaboration to act as a virus “early warning system” and assist pandemic response
  • Implementing coordinated national data collection, sharing standards and analytics for rapid government decision-making.

The report demonstrates how a more efficient and technology-enabled health system could act as an infectious disease early warning system, and it’d also:

  • 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.

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

“Australia played a critical role in the global response to COVID-19 to contain outbreaks and find a vaccine, including detection, safety, data tracking, vaccine manufacture and testing, virus analysis, and predictive data analytics,” Dr Marshall said.

“As infectious disease continues to grow in frequency and impact, science can prepare us for what’s ahead as well as drive our recovery and resilience to protect our people and secure our future prosperity.

TRI will continue to play a vital role in contributing to science and technology enabled solutions by leveraging its world-class research capabilities, including the development of Australia's first scale-up biomedical manufacturing facility