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CSIRO partners to strengthen regional health

CSIRO partners to strengthen regional health
CSIRO partners to strengthen regional health


June 21, 2024
News Notice

Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, will work with governments across the Pacific and Southeast Asia to help them better prepare for and respond to disease outbreaks.

Emerging and endemic infectious diseases in humans and animals pose a major challenge in the Pacific and Southeast Asian regions.

Globally, more than 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic (transmitted from animals to humans), with a 300 percent increase in outbreaks over the past 30 years. Recent examples include COVID-19 and bird flu.

CSIRO will work with nations including Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Fiji to improve their ability to identify, track and respond to health emergencies.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Doug Hilton said an investment in the region's health is an investment in Australia's health.

“Building stronger and more resilient health systems in the Pacific and South-East Asia creates shared success, prosperity, stability and confidence in science,” said Dr Hilton.

“It protects the health of people and animals; ensures equitable and comprehensive health outcomes; and strengthens regional economic security, productivity, trade, tourism and development.”

Guided by regional priorities identified by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and regional partners, CSIRO will begin by helping build laboratory capacity, biomedical manufacturing training, digital health expertise and building health networks. .

CSIRO will also provide access to its multidisciplinary animal and human health expertise, as well as its facilities, such as the Australian Center for Disease Preparedness (ACDP), the National Vaccines and Therapeutics Laboratory and the Australian Health Research Centre. electronic.

The five ACDP projects will strengthen:

  • Animal health laboratory networks and leadership across Southeast Asia and the Pacific, through inter-regional laboratory deployments and building laboratory leadership capabilities in Vietnam
  • regional networks and building diagnostic and lead laboratory capacity for avian influenza in Indonesia and across Southeast Asia and the Pacific
  • Animal health field capacity and diagnostic networks for Pacific Island nations and territories
  • Biorisk management training for laboratory personnel and development of a network of biorisk leaders across Southeast Asia and the Pacific
  • testing for emerging viral infectious diseases in high-risk locations such as wildlife markets in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and the Philippines.

A biomanufacturing partnership will also strengthen the capabilities of Thailand and the Southeast Asian region to develop and produce vaccines, biopharmaceuticals and small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

CSIRO will help build capacity and capability in Thailand in developing the process and enhancing the skills needed to produce complex products, starting with the development of an anti-cancer drug and an antiviral.

The Australian eHealth Research Center will use its world-leading capabilities in digital health to help partners in the Philippines and Fiji adopt international open health data and interoperability standards. These standards enable more secure, consistent, equitable and effective exchange of health data between nations; and creating real-time disease detection and disease surveillance systems.

DFAT will provide $15 million in funding for the partnership and CSIRO a further $9.2 million, plus access to its researchers, expertise and facilities.

“We look forward to working with regional partners to help them build more resilient health systems, address their current and future challenges, and ensure they have the right tools and training to protect our region from the spread of diseases,” said Dr Hilton.

“CSIRO has clear scientific strengths in health, biosecurity and infectious diseases, as well as decades of experience in strengthening health systems in the Pacific and South-East Asia, which continue to improve lives around the world.”

The new partnerships are part of the Australian Government's $620 million five-year Partnerships for a Healthy Region initiative, which is supporting partner countries to build sustainable and equitable health systems.




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