The Australian Government will donate $3 million toward two research centres investigating the treatment of patients with COVID-19.
A Sydney University project looking at the use of CT scanning to determine which patients are most likely to end up in intensive care or need a ventilator will receive $1 million in funding, Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced.
The APPRISE Network was set up to help prepare Australia’s response to future communicable disease outbreaks, such as the coronavirus.
The two donations would save lives and “assist with preparing for better, earlier, more rapid diagnosis of patients in aged care and support for patients in intensive care,” Mr Hunt said.
APPRISE chief investigator, Professor Sharon Lewin, said one of the centre’s key areas of research would investigate how prevalent immunity to the coronavirus is.
“APPRISE will lead a national zero prevalence study to understand how many people really are immune to coronavirus,” Professor Lewin said.
“Many of you would have heard about the concept of herd immunity, or people becoming immune to the virus without ever getting sick.
“We still have no idea how commonly that occurs.”
The research project, to be led by Christine McCartney from the University of Sydney, will analyse thousands of Australians from different risk groups to understand how common immunity is.
A second project, run through the University of Western Australia, would look at the use of anti-viral and immune loading modulating drugs for people sick in intensive care.
“It builds on a pre-existing network that was established before we ever knew coronavirus existed. This was a network to look at new treatments … for people that are in intensive care with severe pneumonia,” Professor Lewin said
Other projects would also look at rapid COVID-19 testing in aged care centres and how immunity may differ among Indigenous Australians, she said.
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