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Australia secures a further 50m COVID-19 vaccine doses from Novavax and Pfizer/BioNTech

Two more COVID-19 vaccine distribution deals have been signed by the Australian Government, reserving a further 50 million doses to potentially roll out to its citizens in the coming months.

The new deals commit to buy 10 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine candidate BNT162b2, and 40 million doses of Novavax’s NVX-CoV2373.

Australia signs first COVID-19 vaccine deal for 25 million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford University candidate

Image credit: Phil Whitehouse,

Australia has signed its first deal to secure doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine for its citizens, inking a partnership with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford for their jointly developed candidate known as ChAdOx1.

The deal promises “early access for every Australian”, securing 25 million doses for an undisclosed price, comfortably covering the country’s 25 million population.

Australian Taskforce recommends Gilead's remdesivir for routine use in the country's COVID-19 patients

Image credit: Ulrich Perrey

Australia could be set to follow the decisions of other nations around the world in officially licensing Gilead’s antiviral therapy remdesivir in the treatment of COVID-19, after the country’s National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, a specialist team bringing together some of Australia’s leading health groups, has given its recommendation for routine use of the drug.

The taskforce found that available evidence supported the use of remdesivir in moderate, severe or critical cases of COVID-19 in order to speed recovery times in patients.

Australia calls for investigation into China’s coronavirus response

Photo by Phil Whitehouse

Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, has called for an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus, as Australia becomes one of China’s most vocal critics of its response to the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Morrison said his government will “continue to pursue what is a very reasonable and sensible course of action.”

Sea snail chemical could be used as preventative treatment for bowel cancer, study shows

A chemical produced by Australian sea snails is showing promise as a potential treatment for cancer, according to researchers from Australia.

Researchers from Flinders University, Southern Cross University and Monash University in Australia, have found that a chemical compound found in the gland secretions of the Australian white rock sea snail (Dicathasis orbita) has anti-cancer properties.

New diagnostic test can detect any cancer type in minutes with 90% accuracy

Researchers at the University of Queensland have a test which can rapidly detect the presence of cancer in a patient’s body from a blood or biopsy sample with 90% accuracy in trials involving 200 cancer samples.

The team discovered a unique DNA nanostructure which appears to be a common element of all cancer types and is distinct from healthy cells – an indicator which could prove instrumental in future approaches to cancer diagnoses.  

HIV on the rise among straight men in Australia

The number of new HIV diagnoses is on the rise among heterosexual men in Australia, according to a new report released by the Kirby Institute.

However while male-to-male sex continues to be the major risk factor for HIV exposure, there was an 11% decline in the number of cases in which male-to-male sex was the most likely exposure over the past five years. Furthermore there was a 15% decline in the number of HIV infections related to male-to-male sex between 2016 and 2017.

University of Adelaide is fighting antibiotic-resistant superbugs by starving them of iron

Image credit: Russell Millard/University of Adelaide

A team of researchers from Australia’s University of Adelaide have developed a new method to fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria by starving it of iron, the fuel it needs grow and threaten human health.

A patent analytics study of the Australian pharmaceutical industry

This report provides an analysis of the Australian pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry through the lens of patents. By using the scale and intensity of patent activity, identifying areas of technological specialisation, and assessing the level of collaboration, the report provides an overview of pharmaceutical innovation in Australia.

Patent activity over time

Australian pharmaceutical market to grow to be worth $25 billion by 2020

The Australian market, in 2016, is currently worth over $22.85 billion and is predicted to reach $25.2 billion by 2020, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. They concluded, in their study, that the growth will arise through good market access to pharmaceutical drugs, increasing awareness of the need for the early detection of lifestyle and chronic diseases, the subsidised cost of prescription medicines, through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for all eligible patients, and the annual addition of new drugs to the PBS drug list.

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