Looking for submissions from local manufacturers on COVID-19 vaccine and treatment production

Photo: Centre for Superbug Solutions, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland.

The federal government’s vaccine and treatment strategy is set to take another positive step forward, with the Government putting a call out to local manufacturers as part of our preparations to produce a future vaccine and treatments for COVID-19.

The request for information builds on the Government’s $333 million investment in vaccine, treatment and therapeutic research and development.

Total funding in vaccine-related activity since the pandemic started is over $256 million, comprising $19 million in Australian research funding, $230 million for the establishment of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP), and $7.5 million for the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Submissions received will be used to determine the extent to which the production and distribution can be supported locally once an effective candidate is found.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said she was confident Australian manufacturers would rise to the challenge.

“Australian scientists are at the heart of the global quest for a vaccine and we want to make sure Australian manufacturers can be central to the production once that vaccine is found,” Andrews said.

“Australia already has impressive capability when it comes to producing vaccines, which as a Government we are well aware of. This request for information is about identifying more niche manufacturers, including those who may be able to pivot or have the capability but would need support to scale up their operations.

“This information will help prepare Australia for the future as well, building our knowledge and strengthening our manufacturing capability to respond to other pandemics down the track.

“This is not a request for tender, but a request to manufacturers to tell us what they can do.”

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the Government’s vaccine strategy currently includes four key elements – research, purchasing agreements, international agreements and onshore manufacturing.

“This next stage follows on from our research into vaccines, treatments and respiratory medicines,” Hunt said.

“In addition to the work we are doing with CSL on production, international and domestic producers on acquisition, and the GAVI Covax facility on shared international access arrangements, this request seeks additional expressions of interest from those who could contribute to any part of the vaccine research, production or distribution process.

“We are confident these actions and investments will secure early and sufficient access to vaccine identified as safe and effective.”

Local manufacturers can find more details and learn how to make a submission here.

The closing date for submissions is 20 August 2020.

The request for information is part of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment Strategic Approach that provides a framework for securing early access to safe and effective vaccines and treatments.