COVAX commitment a big step forward

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Australia has confirmed it will participate in the COVAX purchasing mechanism, which involves the World Health Organisation, the vaccine alliance Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

COVAX pools the resources of wealthier and poorer nations to create global demand for two billion vaccines, accelerating the development and distribution of a successful COVID vaccine or vaccines.

Australia’s participation means Australia and poorer nations in our region are far likelier to have early access to a vaccine, said Reverend Tim Costello.

“This announcement helps secure vaccines for Australian citizens, and people in vulnerable nations who have no hope of producing or purchasing vaccines on their own,” Reverend Costello said. “It is an important development and the Australian Government should be commended for meeting its moral obligation to help others also defeat this virus.

“COVID-19 does not respect borders or political systems. It rips through societies like wildfire, wrecking industries and livelihoods. No community is immune and it is in everyone’s interest to suppress this virus as effectively as we can possibly can.

“Australia’s participation in the COVAX effort is incredibly worthwhile. This could be bolstered by additional aid efforts. We know the pandemic is creating serious roadblocks to combating existing epidemics such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. COVID is impeding the economic empowerment of women and girls as resources are stretched to deal with the pandemic.

“The Australian Government should build on this announcement with further support for the heath and economic development aspirations of poorer nations. It is profoundly in Australia’s interests to foster a healthier, more prosperous environment in its region and beyond.”

Indonesia has now recorded more than 9,000 COVID-10 related deaths, and in recent weeks the average number of new cases has risen from about 2,000 per day to more than 3,500.

In the Pacific the economic impact of COVID-19 could result in an additional 1.2 million people in the Pacific and Timor-Leste being pushed into extreme poverty.

Globally already in 2020, the pandemic has pushed almost 37 million people below the[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Nominations Open for 2020 Kerrin Rennie Award

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]MTAA and the #MedTech community would like to recognise that technology at the upcoming Australian MedTech Industry Awards.

If you know of an innovative product launched in Australia within the last two years used in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment or management of disease and disability, we encourage you to nominate that technology for the 2020 Kerrie Rennie Award.

Other award categories are available on the MTAA website.[/vc_column_text][vc_zigzag][vc_btn title=”SUBMIT NOMINATION” color=”turquoise” align=”center” link=”|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

$12.5m enables new research approach to Parkinson’s

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“The outcomes of this research promise to provide new insights into the genetics of what determines the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease, “said Professor Deniz Kirik, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University who will be the lead investigator on the research project for the University of Sydney as an Honorary Professor for the duration of the research.

ASAP seeks to support international, multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research teams to address key knowledge gaps in the basic disease mechanisms that contribute to Parkinson’s. The initiative is focused on understanding the dynamics of Parkinson’s from its earliest stages and before it presents as a fully-recognisable condition.

The research being funded is focused on how mutations and/or deletions in specific genes result in a high probability of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD), suggesting their critical role in the health and survival of specific brain cells.

“Curiously, it is not yet clear how specific types of brain cells are functionally impacted by genetic mutations that result in the neuronal loss defining Parkinson’s. The research supported by this grant will address that,” said Professor Kirik.

Previously, affected cells have mainly been examined as cultured cells in petri dishes but this project will focus on using cells from patients with Parkinson’s to study them in the environment of the living mouse brain. This is a completely new way of exploring the cellular components and underlying biology of the disease. The researchers will then explore how gene editing could address the underlying basis of the disease.

“This generous grant allows Professor Kirik to build new research capabilities in neuronal transplantation at the University of Sydney, and collaborate on genomics and human neural stem cells with myself and Professor Carolyn Sue from the Kolling Institute,” said Professor

Glenda Halliday, one of the lead researchers from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health and member of the University’s Brain and Mind Centre.

“It will also build on Professor Kirik’s strong collaborations with Professor Claire Parish and Associate Professor Lachlan Thompson at the Florey Institute in Melbourne, and Jennifer Johnson at NysnBio in California.”

Professor Sue, Executive Director, Professor and Director of Neurogenetics, Kolling Institute, University of Sydney said: “We have world- leading expertise in this field and have been selected to take part after a worldwide search for innovative programs to speed up the search for new treatments for Parkinson’s disease. The program illustrates the importance of our translational research at the Kolling Institute, where we can directly incorporate scientific breakthroughs to improve clinical care for our patients.”

The research team members are:

 Project lead: Professor Deniz Kirik, Faculty of Medicine Lund University, Sweden, has over 25 years’ experience in the development of cell and gene therapy for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, with special emphasis on Parkinson’s disease. He has made significant contributions to cell therapy for PD which have been instrumental in taking novel treatments into clinical testing. (Professor Kirik and his team will eventually be based at the University of Sydney for the duration of the research, once COVID conditions permit).

Core leadership and Collaborators:

  Professor Glenda Halliday,NHMRC Senior Leadership Fellow, Faculty of Medicine and Health and Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney. Expertise in the development of neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease and the role of Lewy bodies (clumps of proteins that form in the brain). Her current work focuses on how proteins identified through genetic studies are involved in neurodegeneration.

Professor Carolyn Sue, Executive Director, Professor and Director of Neurogenetics, Kolling Institute, University of Sydney and Director of Neurogenetics at Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney. A clinician-scientist, whose research team combines the use of genomics, molecular neuroscience, and adult stem cell models to identify pathogenic mechanisms and develop targeted therapies for Parkinson’s disease and other related neurodegenerative disorders.

Professor Clare Parish, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Victoria is a developmental neuroscientist with 20 years of experience in Parkinson’s disease research. Expertise includes using advanced stem cell-based therapies for neural repair in Parkinson’s disease. She has an international reputation in improving the safety and functional integration of stem cell-derived neural transplants for Parkinson’s disease.

Associate Professor Lachlan Thompson, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health is a neurobiologist specialising in neural transplantation both as a therapeutic approach for brain and spinal cord repair, and as a way to understand the properties of neurons generated from human stem cells. He is the inaugural co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Association for Neural Transplantation and Repair.

Jennifer Johnston, CEO NysnoBio, California, has been studying neurodegenerative disease for the last 20 years. NysnoBio is a biotech company focused on the modulation of the parkin enzyme pathway for critical unmet medical needs in neurology and oncology (Parkin plays an essential role in maintenance of brain cells that create dopamine, which degenerate in Parkinson’s disease).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

MedTech20 – Tracey Duffy announced at MedTech20 Virtual Conference

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Health Products Regulation Group comprises the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Office of Drug Control. Her current responsibilities include medical device regulation, Good Manufacturing Practice medicine inspections and Laboratory testing. Tracey has held several leadership roles within the Department of Health and private sector experience including consultant health related advisory roles.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]From this week, three new measures will be introduced to help all states and territories learn from what has occurred in Victoria and new information from around the world.

Firstly, a new partnership has been established between the Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG) and the National COVID-19 Evidence Taskforce led by the Living Guidelines Consortium.

With so much evidence emerging so quickly, this partnership will bring together Australia’s leading infection control practitioners, many of whom are frontline clinicians, with other senior healthcare workers, to review the latest evidence on infection prevention and control during COVID-19.

The partnership will contribute to national infection control guidance by providing consensus guidelines on specific infection control issues that have emerged during COVID-19.

Secondly, the AHPPC has endorsed an expansion of national surveillance of healthcare worker infection to ensure we have a better understanding of COVID-19 among healthcare workers at the state and territory level.

This will provide more information on the type of healthcare workers who are becoming infected and enable state and territory governments to target their investigations and interventions based on national-level data.

Thirdly, the Australian Government has funded a new network of epidemiologists – or “disease detectives”. These ‘COVID-NET’ epidemiologists will be available on request by state and territory public health units to assist investigating healthcare worker outbreaks. They will also gather and analyse data on healthcare worker infection at a national level.

The Government says it is committed to assisting the states and territories to understand where workplace controls designed to protect healthcare workers have can further strengthened. It is important healthcare facilities to continue to review their controls and strengthen these to ensure workers are better protected.

The Australian Government is continuing to support hospitals in their efforts to protect their workers from COVID-19. This includes the provision of vital personal protective equipment, drawn from the National Medical Stockpile.

Since March, over 73 million masks have been dispatched from the National Medical Stockpile to support healthcare workers, aged care workers, States and Territories and to support the disability sector.

Australia’s healthcare workers are doing an outstanding job of bravely caring for the health and wellbeing of Australians who have either contracted – or are suspected to have contracted – COVID-19.

They are at the frontline of our fight against COVID-19 and deserve the greatest possible protection from contracting the virus themselves.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]3DMeditech will supply Australian made, 3D printed nasopharyngeal swab kits. The kits will be issued from the stockpile to general practitioners, private pathology providers and state and territory governments according to their need for ongoing coronavirus testing.

The kits will include a nasopharyngeal swab, viral transport “media” (CDC-prescribed viral transport medium), and a bio hazard bag.

The swabs are the first sterile 3D printed swabs to be included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

The kits will make it easy and safe for healthcare professionals to collect clinical specimens from people presenting for COVID-19 testing, and for the samples to be transported to testing laboratories.

3DMeditech, based in Port Melbourne, will deliver the first swabs this week, with further deliveries continuing weekly until early March 2021.

The National Medical Stockpile is a strategic reserve of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medicines maintained by the Australian Government for use in a public health emergency, such as the current pandemic.

Finding an Australian supplier of sterile nasal swabs is another positive move for the nation’s health security. Reliance on overseas suppliers can make it difficult to source vital health resources, such as virus testing materials and PPE, when global demand is high.

In recent weeks, the Government has signed major agreements worth over $1.7 billion to ensure Australia can mass produce vital vaccines, including a COVID-19 vaccine.

The production and supply agreements that form part of the Government’s COVID-19 response plan, means Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a vaccine, after trials have proven it to be safe and effective.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]At the height of the pandemic, NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, appealed to businesses to pivot their focus to producing critical medical supplies in the fight against COVID-19.

The Premier said that global supply chains were disrupted, but thanks to local universities and manufacturers stepping up, they were able to join forces to develop prototype ventilators.

“Two ventilators are on track to receive regulatory approval within weeks and, if needed, can be produced for hospitals here and potentially overseas, saving lives and boosting jobs,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The Ventilator Innovation Project was part of the NSW Government’s $800 million investment to help increase services and equipment to combat COVID-19.

The NSW Government knows that having access to a ventilator can be the difference between life and death for severe COVID cases, which have become all too apparent in situations overseas.

In some of the worst-hit nations, health staff were forced to limit who could access ventilators – a situation the Government says is why NSW needs reliable local supply chains to safeguard patients.

Minister for jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said the pandemic had inspired a wave of innovation and rapid development across the globe, and local manufacturers and universities had risen to the challenge.

“One thing history has shown us is that crises stimulate innovation and this pandemic has provided an environment for launching and testing new ideas,” Mr Ayres said.

“We congratulate the successful teams behind the CoVida Ventilator, led by the University of Sydney, with clinicians at Westmead and Royal North Shore Hospitals, and Ventasys, developed by AmpControl with clinicians at the John Hunter Hospital.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In a statement announcing the investment, Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, confirmed more than $16.9 million had been awarded to researchers to study women’s health issues and aspects of primary health care, and to facilitate more and better clinical trials of new and improved treatments.

In the lead up to Women’s Health Week – taking place from 7th to 11th September 2020 – the MRFF grants announced would include:

  • $5 million over five years for the National Women’s Health Research, Translation and Impact Network, aimed at research with strong potential to improve health outcomes for women and girls;
  • $5 million over four years to the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance to be a national partner providing specialised leadership and support to both investigator-led and industry clinical trials, and to Clinical Quality Registries; and
  • More than $6.9 million delivered to five projects to improve primary health care in the areas of contraception and abortion for rural women, health care for people in aged care, diabetes in Indigenous Australians, nutrition and heart disease, and the health of urban Indigenous people.

Compared with men, women have a higher life expectancy but experience more disease burden from living with disease, rather than dying early from disease and injury.

The Women’s Health Network are expected to use the funding for research into nine priority areas, including reproductive health, mental health, and preventing cancer and heart disease.

The Government has said the project will also boost national and international collaboration on women’s health, build health workforce capacity and develop leaders in women’s health.

In addition to these grants, Minister Hunt said he was announcing new grant opportunities worth more than $86.5 million for clinical trials and other vital research.

Clinical trial grant opportunities totally $77.2 million will provide up to:

  • $24 million for the Million Minds Mission Mental Heath Research supporting access to new approaches to prevention, diagnoses, treatment and recovery;
  • $3 million for clinical trials to examine the benefits of medicinal cannabis for managing pain, symptoms and aside effects for cancer patients;
  • $25.2 million for international clinical trial collaborations; and
  • $25 million for clinical trials of new or improved treatments for rare cancers, rare diseases and other illness with unmet clinical need.

Other grant opportunities are making $9.3 million available for research:

  • $4.8 million for primary health care research; and
  • $4.5 million from the MRFF and National Health and Medical Research Council for research into silicosis, a preventable lung disease related to inhalation of fine silica dust from artificial stone bench tops.

The Government has identified investment in health and medical research as one of its key priorities in its Long Term National Health Plan.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Setup by the MTAA, the Australian MedTech Industry Awards are the industry’s premier awards event, recognising outstanding individuals and organisations across Australia.

For this year’s awards, MTAA said they are establishing a new award to be called the Women in MedTech Award for Emerging Women in Leadership.

MTAA has championed the push to better engage and encourage women into the medical technologies professions through the establishment of its Women in MedTech initiative.

Leading the debate and promoting the benefits of more women in the workplace MTAA and its members companies continue its proactive support of gender diversity, investing in women in MedTech to unlock their full potential.

The award categories are:


The Kerrin Rennie Award for Excellence in Medical Technology – Improving Quality of Life was established to recognise and profile the innovative and extraordinary contribution of medical technology to improving health outcomes of Australian patients.

The Award was inaugurated in 2007 and is endowed by the Rennie family in memory of Kerrin, a long serving and highly respected member of the Australian medical technology community.


This award recognises an individual who has contributed in an exceptional way to the medical technology industry in Australia. This may be evidenced through their contribution to industry development, improvement in patient outcomes or excellence in leadership or innovation.


MTAA introduced the Women in MedTech Awards in 2017. The Awards are presented to both an individual and a company who have been leaders in advancing or achieving a significant result in the WiMT mission or goals within their company or the industry.


MTAA is  introducing the Women in MedTech Award for Emerging Women in Leadership this year. This Award celebrates inspiring emerging female leader in the medical technology industry. This is exclusively for MTAA members only.

Nominations close 22 October 2020, and winners announced on 17 November 2020.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_btn title=”CLICK TO NOMINATE” color=”primary” size=”lg” align=”center” link=”|||”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Government has identified 17 occupations on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL), confirming they were chosen based on advice from the National Skills Commission and consultation with relevant Commonwealth agencies. The list is expected to be reviewed regularly.

Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge, said the changes would strike the right balance for Australia’s economic recovery.

“Our priority is getting Australians back into work but we also need key health workers to help fight the virus and skilled migrants who are going to be job multipliers, to help the economy recover,” Mr Tudge said.

“These occupations in the health care, construction and IT sectors will supercharge both our health and economic response to COVID-19.

“Visa holders who have been sponsored by an Australian business in a PMSOL occupation can request an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions, but will be subject to a strict 14 days quarantine on arrival at their own expense.”

While existing skilled migration occupation lists will remain active and visas will still be processed, priority will be given to those in occupations on the PMSOL.

The 17 occupations (ANZSCO code) on the list are:

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director
  • Construction Project Manager
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Resident Medical Officer
  • Psychiatrist
  • Medical Practitioner nec
  • Midwife
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
  • Registered Nurses nec
  • Developer Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Maintenance Planner

PulseLine advises readers seeking further information about the travel exemption process for those critical skills and sectors, please visit:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]