Palaszczuk Government boosts funding for COVID-19 research

Minister for State Development, Tourism and Innovation The Honourable Kate Jones

Innovation Minister Kate Jones has today announced $6.45 million to back more than 30 Queensland research projects aimed at combatting the coronavirus pandemic. Ms Jones said 33 researchers would receive support as part of the latest round of the government’s Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program. “Coronavirus is one of the biggest challenges we’ve ever had to face,” Ms Jones said. “The funding announced today will allow our researchers to get on with some of the most important work of their careers. “Queensland researchers are leading the charge in the fight against COVID-19. “We’re investing in this vital research because we know the potential of this work when it comes to creating jobs and improving the lives of ordinary Queenslanders.” “The researchers are working across a wide front in the battle against COVID-19 – from developing faster diagnoses for COVID-19 patients, to developing crisis management toolkits for struggling small businesses to using artificial intelligence to prevent suicides due to the pandemic,” Ms Jones said. “Even if we manage to overcome COVID-19 within the next year, the research projects will lay the all-important groundwork in helping us prepare for future pandemics.” One of the big challenges with COVID-19 has been getting quick turnaround diagnostic results ­­– but thanks to Palaszczuk Government funding announced today, a solution may be on the horizon. Ms Jones said Dr Kristyan Guppy-Coles from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) had been awarded a $90,000 COVID-19 Industry Research Fellowship to develop a rapid, highly-accurate and inexpensive test for detecting COVID-19. “Being able to quickly diagnose and treat patients is absolutely essential throughout this pandemic,” Ms Jones said. “The research being conducted by the team at QUT shows real promise in speeding up diagnoses in the future. “This work could be a gamechanger for our health system.” Dr Guppy-Coles is developing a rapid, low-cost swab test using the very latest in nanosensor technology to detect coronavirus. “COVID-19 is found in human nose and throat mucus, as well as in saliva. So the plan is to develop a test sensitive enough to pick up the virus as rapidly as possible,” he said. “Current nasal and throat swab testing is time-consuming and requires complex laboratories with trained staff, and of course is costly. “My aim is to develop a highly-accurate test that can give a result in as short a time as possible, in minutes as opposed to hours, and ultimately be used at the point-of-care – in general practitioner clinics, pop-up COVID-19 clinics and even in large workplaces, schools, universities, hospitals and airports.” Dr Guppy-Coles will work with Brisbane research and development company FLEW Solutions, Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology and chemical analyser manufacturer Metrohm [

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