The Australian Academy of Science has pushed for federal investment in local Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity.
The group’s pre-budget submission cites supply vulnerability locally and in the region for mRNA vaccines.
According to Academy’s Secretary for Science Policy, Professor David Day, the necessary scientific expertise exists in Australia, but not the manufacturing capability.
“Without the ability to produce new vaccines onshore, Australia and the region remain vulnerable to supply shocks,” the AAS paper reads.
“Investing in nucleic acid-based technology platforms offers a way to mitigate this risk. Nucleic acid technology shows enough promise to commit to developing a large-scale RNA production capability. Australia needs a strategy for developing additional manufacturing platforms for the years ahead.
“Developing this capability will allow us to build resilience to future pandemics and potential biosecurity situations that may require us to have the onshore capacity to mass produce vaccines.”
The Academy’s other key recommendations, published on Monday, are:
- Maintain sovereign capabilities in research and development by establishing a research translation fund to support research not covered by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).
- Conduct a 12-month review of higher education funding rates for university teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.
- Continue to provide the evidence base to the Australian government through the Rapid Research Information Forum (RRIF) and investment in its operations and the learned Academies’ policy capability.
- Commence a roadmap for developing additional vaccine manufacturing capability within the next twelve months.
- Work with Taxonomy Australia to scope a mission to discover all species within a generation, commencing with a full cost-benefit exercise
The pre-budget submission can be read here.
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