Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; Tourism; Commerce; Science

    $2.9m to boost local researchers’ quest for COVID-19 answers

    25/05/2020 10:00 AM
    • Twelve Western Australian research projects boosted with nearly $3 million funding for local COVID-19 related research and infrastructure
    • Recipients come from a range of disciplines and work across hospitals, universities, research institutes and biotech companies 

    Twelve Western Australian research projects have been boosted with funding from the McGowan Government.


    $1.9 million in research grants has been awarded to support COVID-related research projects. Another $1 million has been provided for infrastructure support which will cover costs of consumables, staffing and site set-up for local COVID-19 research.


    The funding for the 12 research projects will go towards treatments, studies of at-risk groups, development of less invasive tests, study of mental health impacts and tests that will more accurately inform us about immunity of COVID-19.


    One of these projects is a pilot study that will assess the effectiveness of transfusing active COVID-19 cases with plasma from recovered patients (convalescent plasma).


    The pilot, being led by Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital respiratory specialist Dr Anna Tai, will determine whether antibodies contained in donated plasma can prevent patients from deteriorating to the point where they need to be hospitalised or develop Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).


    The project will also see whether such early intervention can reduce the time it takes for the person to feel better or clear the virus from his or her system.


    With Western Australia's current low number of active cases, Dr Tai is collaborating with other research groups to involve patients from other states and jurisdictions.


    In the absence of a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, Dr Tai's study will investigate the therapeutic potential of convalescent plasma in treating COVID-19 patients in the early stages of disease.


    Convalescent plasma has been shown to be effective in managing patients during other major viral outbreaks including the SARS, MERS, Ebola and H1N1 and H5N1 pandemics.


    The full list of recipients is on the Department of Health website.


    Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:


    "The more research we can support, the closer we are to finding out more about this virus.


    "This project is a fantastic example of some the innovative research underway across the WA health system.


    "While enabling WA researchers to be part of the global search for COVID-19 answers, it will also give our patients access to potential new therapies and treatments."


    Minister's office - 6552 6500