An Australian Institute for Infectious Disease will be built at Parkville’s biomedical precinct to lead the fight against future pandemics.
The initiative, announced by the State Government, will bring together the brightest minds from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), the University of Melbourne, the Burnet Institute, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research and global biotechnology company CSL to ensure the country is prepared for future challenges.
The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will include an investment of $155 million towards the $550 million institute, with the University of Melbourne and its partners contributing a further $150 million and the remaining funds to be sought from the Federal Government.
MCRI Theme Director of Infection and Immunity Professor Andrew Steer said, “We’re really excited about this pledge from the Victorian Government and look forward to playing a key role in the collaboration with the University of Melbourne and the other Melbourne Biomedical Precinct partners.”
The Institute will create the largest centre of expertise in the Indo-Pacific region and will establish Victoria as a global leader in understanding infectious disease – accelerating research into the prevention of future pandemics and rapidly developing treatments.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of backing science and research in getting ahead of outbreaks and keeping people safe – with the Institute designed to deliver everything researchers need to detect, analyse, manage and treat infectious diseases.
The facility will include next-generation laboratories and high-containment facilities that will help researchers improve our understanding of infectious diseases, with a robotic biobank facility that will ensure international best practice for specimen storage in large-scale clinical trials.
A cross-disciplinary Centre for Infectious Diseases Modelling will allow the development of more sophisticated models to predict disease patterns, while a new facility at the Royal Melbourne Hospital will facilitate early-stage clinical trials to quickly develop vaccines and treatments.
Health workers will train to respond to outbreaks at a new state-of-the-art education and simulation facility featuring advanced video conferencing and data-sharing capabilities to link the centre to researchers throughout Australia and Asia, strengthening our cooperation in preventing and managing future outbreaks.
The Australian Institute of Infectious Disease will be the new home of the Burnet Institute and be located next to the Doherty Institute on Elizabeth St.
The business case for the Institute is due for completion in mid-2021.