A grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council to boost Australia’s response to infectious disease outbreaks
In July 2016, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), announced the funding of a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) to improve the country’s national readiness to undertake emergency response research during an infectious disease outbreak.
Administered by the University of Melbourne, the ‘Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Diseases Emergencies’ (APPRISE), will bring together Australia’s leading experts in clinical, laboratory and public health research to deliver a rapid, national, coordinated, evidence-based response to infectious diseases.
APPRISE Chief Investigator, Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), a joint venture of the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital, said: “Even with no cases of Ebola and an absence of Zika virus outbreaks in Australia despite multiple importations, the threat of deadly infectious disease outbreaks happening closer to home is very real”.
She added: “We have outstanding research in emergency response to infectious diseases across Australia in multiple disciplines. The CRE will now allow for national coordination of these efforts, integration of different disciplines, training of early career researchers and a close link to government”.
The NHMRC Chief Executive Officer, Professor Anne Kelso said the new Centre would play an important role in Australia’s readiness to respond to future pandemics and other infectious disease emergencies. She stated: “History tells us that new infectious diseases will continue to emerge but that we cannot predict when, where or how. The purpose of this significant NHMRC grant is to establish national capability to respond rapidly when such threats do emerge, by undertaking the research needed to inform the public health response”.