Australia Signs Deal With US to Accelerate Vaccine Development

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Queensland is hoping to create home-grown vaccines and become a major international vaccine hub after a partnership was announced at an international biotech conference in the U.S. on June 7.

The partnership between the University of Queensland (UQ) and Emory University in Atlanta would make Queensland a centre for the Asia Pacific region, and a significant player in the burgeoning global biomedical industry, UQ’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said at the conference.

“The focus will be on rapid progression to the clinical trial of a scaled-up number of vaccine candidates for the treatment of Asia-Pacific region viruses and infectious diseases, along with pandemic preparedness,” she said.

“Biotech companies from around the world will be able to come to Brisbane to take advantage of the facilities already established and work with the 300-plus researchers associated with the Emory and UQ partnership.”

The collaboration builds on over a decade of working together in drug discovery of UQ, Emory University, and Queensland Institute of Medical Research Berghofer (QIMR Berghofer), in an association known as the Queensland Emory Development Alliance.

The Alliance was renewed today in Boston for a further 10 years.

“This exciting new partnership will accelerate the number of successful vaccine candidates. This is a crucial step in getting new vaccine candidates from the lab to the community in the shortest possible time,” Terry said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles speaks at a press conference at Parliament House in Brisbane, Australia, on August 06, 2021. (Jono Searle/Getty Images)

Deputy Premier Steven Miles welcomed the continuation of the alliance between the countries.

“Partnerships like this one are why Queensland is fast becoming a global research and innovation hub, driving the development of ground-breaking new vaccines and healthcare solutions,” Miles said.

“Importantly, it creates more training and knowledge sharing opportunities, and highly-skilled jobs for Queenslanders—helping put this state on the map as the place to work and invest in science.

“Government will continue to look to where the State can support local growth in these industries.”

Australia needs to accelerate the discovery and development of vaccines to help deliver commercial and public health outcomes, according to the director and CEO of QIMR Berghofer, Professor Fabienne Mackay.

“QIMR Berghofer’s vision is to build a robust health and medical innovation ecosystem to solve health challenges and develop future talents,” Mackay said.

“This requires strong and strategic partnerships with leading international institutions. This a strong foundation towards that vision.”

Meanwhile, last month, Queensland’s government handed over a $220 million (US$146 million) taxpayer-funded quarantine facility designed to keep Australians safe by lowering the risk of COVID-19 spreading after housing merely 730 travellers over a 14-month period.

“This is the worst decision ever made by a state government on behalf of taxpayers,” Deputy Opposition Leader Jarrod Bleijie said.

“The premier has never apologised for it, and she should because Queenslanders will be paying the price for this waste for a long time to come.”

“It’s a $500,000 a day check-out bill that could have helped Queenslanders in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.”

The state opposition requested a formal audit to investigate the cost and decisions of the facility on Feb. 16, 2022, but has been held up to this day.

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