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Minimising the impacts of pandemics through science and technology

[Music plays and an image appears of two patients in beds being attended by two nurses wearing PPE, and text appears: The frequency of viral outbreaks and potential for more pandemics is growing]

[Image changes to show a female placing a “Sorry we’re closed again due to COVID” sign on a post, and text appears: Lockdowns, border controls and quarantine kept Australia’s infection rates lower than most countries]

[Image changes to show a female sitting in a lounge chair wearing a mask and looking out of a window, and text appears: But they had social, health, and economic impacts]

[Image changes to show a conveyer belt of small bottles of COVID vaccines moving along, and text appears: Australia can better use science and technology to lessen this disruption…]

[Image changes to show a close view of a researcher’s gloved hands operating a touch screen computer, and text appears: … and provide a wider range of preparedness and response options that complement existing methods]

[Image changes to show researchers working inside a clean laboratory wearing protective suits]

[Image changes to show a close side view of a researcher wearing a full Hazmat suit, and talking and text appears: Through our developing Infectious Disease Resilience Mission…]

[Image changes to show a close view of tubes linked into lab equipment, and text appears: We’re partnering with government, industry and the research sector to help]

[Image changes to show a close view of a researcher’s hands inside a fume cupboard]

[Image changes to show a Strengthening Australia’s Pandemic Preparedness report on the right, and text appears beneath: CSIRO’s Strengthening Australia’s Pandemic Preparedness report maps a path forward]

[Image changes to show text on a white screen: Read the report at]

[Image changes to show the CSIRO logo and text on a white screen: CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency]

This report provides a strategic overview of key science and technology-enabled solutions to better prepare Australia for future pandemics.

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The COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented for many governments around the world, with highly disruptive and costly impacts. With more pandemics a likely scenario, it has highlighted the need for improved national planning to help better prepare for future outbreaks.

Targeted investments and planning in science and technology solutions can play a key role in helping Australia become more prepared for future pandemics. These range from improved research of key viral families, developing early warning systems through enhanced genomics expertise, to expanding onshore vaccine manufacturing capabilities

The Strengthening Australia's Pandemic Preparedness report examined the six top science and technology areas with 20 recommendations to inform government and industry planning.

The report was developed as part of CSIRO's Infectious Disease Resilience Mission and was based on consultations with 146 experts from 66 organisations across government, industry and the research sector.

Coordinating Australia's preparedness and response

While Australia had strong success early in the pandemic keeping infections low with lockdowns, border closures and quarantine these strategies come with high social, health and economic costs.

By complementing these approaches with the science and technology enabled solutions identified in the report, Australia can reduce costs and impact while also improving our ability to defend against future disease outbreaks. Key to this is a transition away from crisis response and a move towards an integrated cycle of prevention, detection, response and recovery.

Key science and technology areas for strengthened pandemic preparedness

The report identified six science and technology areas that would have the most impact to Australia's pandemic preparedness.

In order to maximise their effectiveness, many of these are complimentary and do not operate in isolation. By investing in each of these areas now, Australia will be well placed to prepare for future pandemics.

Strengthened Pandemic Preparedness

Key science and technology areas

  1. Preclinical capabilities for medical countermeasures
  2. Vaccine manufacturing
  3. Therapeutics repurposing and novel antivirals
  4. Point of care diagnostics for case identification
  5. Genomic analysis of pathogens and their variants
  6. Data sharing for informing response strategies

Supporting health system characteristics

  • National coordination of governance and strategies
  • Coordination of clinical trials
  • International cooperation and coordination
  • Community-centric engagement and trust in institutions
  • Resilient infrastructure and supply chains
  • Responsive regulatory and funding system
Key science and technology areas and supporting health system characteristics

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