The McGowan Government has committed $5 million for 34 university-led projects that could see Western Australian researchers play a leading role in the global fight against COVID-19.
The funding has been provided to the State’s five universities to undertake or boost their COVID-19 research that contributes to protecting Western Australians. The diverse range of projects to be funded will contribute to the global understanding, treatment and management of COVID-19.
Examples of the projects include the development of new drugs, research into the effects of COVID-19 on mental health, projects to upskill the health workforce and projects to support the resilience of businesses through the economic recovery.
One of the projects funded by the State Government is the COVID-19 International Systems Medicine Project by Murdoch University’s Australian National Phenome Centre.
This project has received $400,000 towards developing a test to determine people’s susceptibility to the disease and the severity of an individual’s response to it.
This knowledge will allow health care experts to also identify which individuals will respond well to a given drug treatment and what the long-term consequences of infection are.
This is crucial knowledge for the development of effective treatments, including vaccines, and presents a major step towards effective clinical management of COVID-19.
The Centre is working with international collaborators from leading global research hospitals, including Cambridge University’s highly respected Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“The remarkable success of Western Australians in suppressing the spread of COVID-19 has been based on the best scientific and medical advice available.
“It is vital that we support the work of our universities to improve our understanding of the virus through ongoing, innovative research.
“The projects being funded by the McGowan Government represent an exciting stage in Western Australia’s contribution to the global fight against COVID-19.”
As stated by Treasurer Ben Wyatt:
“Western Australia has world-class research institutes and this funding could make the difference to them making a COVID-19 breakthrough.
“The State Government is very happy to support these efforts that could potentially save or improve the lives of many, many people diagnosed with COVID-19.
As stated by Science Minister Dave Kelly:
“Western Australian Universities are at the cutting edge of research and innovation. This research not only has the potential to save lives, it is supporting jobs and our economic recovery.”
As stated by WA Chief Scientist Professor Peter Klinken:
“With the emergence of any new disease, especially a pandemic as deadly as COVID-19, it is critical to understand the scientific basis of the disease.
“It is terrific that the research team at Murdoch University, headed by professors Nicholson and Holmes – a Premier’s Research Fellow – is making such great progress in understanding COVID-19.
“By monitoring chemicals circulating in patients’ blood, their crucial work is enabling researchers across the world to understand how the coronavirus is impacting on the human body.”