The Australian federal government has awarded $13 million in medical research grants to research more potential treatment options in the fight against COVID-19. This includes $8 million to test up to 10 antiviral therapies reported by Health Minister Greg Hunt, while $5 million flows to trigger clinical trials to help care for patients struggling with severe acute respiratory distress as a result of the COVID-19 strain. The money originates from the government’s $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.
Separate but related, the Australian government pledged $2.6 million in four promising projects centering on diagnosing the novel coronavirus.
COVID-19 in Australia
The Australian government, via the Department of Health, maintains a COVID-19 update website here. As of this writing, there are 1,098 confirmed cases in Australia—224 new cases emerged Down Under since 6:30AM Saturday morning.
Research as a Care Option in Crisis
Clinical research, in times such as these, represents not only a series of activities involving the development and testing of experimental treatments, but also a strategy of care in a rapidly unfolding and dynamic, not to mention volatile situation. Hence, Minister Hunt commented, “Research plays a critical role in ensuring Australia maintains its world-class health system and is particularly important as the world responds to COVID-19. A healthy research ecosystem enables Australia to improve its changes of offering the population successful options for the testing, diagnosis and ultimately treatment against COVID-19.”
The Emergency Response Plan Activated
The Australian Prime Minister activated an Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The actual plan can be read here.