A collaboration between Agriculture Victoria and the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (the Doherty Institute) is set to make an important contribution to research and innovation to combat coronavirus (COVID-19).
For the next two years Agriculture Victoria has made available its state-of-the-art physical containment (PC3) laboratory at AgriBio at Bundoora to enable the Doherty Institute to undertake critical studies underpinning the development of coronavirus treatments and vaccines.
Physical containment facilities, such as AgriBio’s PC3 lab, are designed to ensure infectious microorganisms are safely contained. They operate under negative pressure and have a high level of biosecurity which allows researchers to work with hazardous biological samples safely.
Doherty Institute Director Professor Sharon Lewin said the partnership was crucial to progress the work being undertaken.
“Our coronavirus research, as well as other research into HIV and HTLV-1 all require a high containment setting,” Professor Lewin said.
“While we have these facilities at the Doherty Institute, we have reached our capacity with other projects, so we are grateful for the support of Agriculture Victoria in helping facilitate this research.”
The collaboration involves work on in vitro studies into the effectiveness of new or repurposed compounds as treatments for coronavirus and the development of vaccine candidates.
Agriculture Victoria’s PC3 facilities will facilitate research and innovation in coronavirus infection model studies, animal model studies, antiviral studies and vaccine screening studies.
Agriculture Victoria Research Head, Professor German Spangenberg said the PC3 facilities and scientific resources were integral to work related to disease that impact the agriculture sector.
“We are pleased to share these with the Doherty Institute’s scientists so that they can carry on their research into potential treatments for coronavirus.”
This partnership follows the Victorian Government’s $400 million pledge to establish an Australian Institute for Infectious Disease and will allow the Doherty Institute to expand its research operations so it can protect Victorians and Australians against future pandemics.