7 May 2020
Canberra businessman Terry Snow donates $5.5m to coronavirus research
By ANDREW BROWN
The Canberra Airport owner’s Snow Medical Research Foundation will fund $5.5 million worth of projects to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the community.
The funding will be carried out to four projects, which include more accurate tracking of the spread of coronavirus, a national bio-bank of samples from symptomatic and asymptomatic cases and research into genetic markers of the virus.
The projects will be a collaboration of two infectious disease research institutes: the Centre of Research Excellence in Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Diseases Emergencies.
Mr Snow said the research would look for answers on the virus that would allow for people to return to work safely and quickly.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on Australia and the the world,” he said.
“This is the biggest thing to hit the globe since 1945 and it will have a lasting impact for years to come.
“Government has stepped up, and now is the time for the community to play a role.”
Among the other projects the donation will fund is a new national electronic data analytics platform, to help provide more individualised care for patients with coronavirus.
The new platform will help to accelerate the testing of new therapeutics used to help fight the virus.
Lead investigation of the Centre of Research Excellence in Emerging Infectious Diseases Professor Tania Sorrell said the increased funding had allowed for major research institutes to come together to expand on previous research into coronavirus.
“This very generous donation will help Australia lead in the fight to contact the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” Professor Sorrell said.
While a large amount of medical research has focused on finding a vaccine for coronavirus, the donation will allow for scientists to understand more about how the virus operates.
Chief investigator for the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Diseases Emergencies Professor Sharon Lewin said the new projects were critical to finding out new information.
“The large injection of funds supports the development of critical national platforms for the current pandemic, while building capacity for future pandemics,” Professor Lewin said.
“Platforms for data analytics and biobanking of samples will help improve care for people with COVID-19 and provide researchers with essential resources to accelerate understanding of many aspects of the virus, including how it spreads and affects the immune system.”