Australia’s Chief Scientist in global talks for COVID-19 response

On 27 March 2020 Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, released this statement about Australia’s involvement in a dialogue of international science leaders on the COVID-19 worldwide crisis.

Australia’s Chief Scientist in global talks for COVID 19 response

For the past three weeks, Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, has been participating in a dialogue of international science leaders on the COVID-19 worldwide crisis.

“This dialogue is a valuable update on endeavours around the world in medical science research, social sciences research and clinical trials. It is an effective way to share information on the global task of tackling the pandemic,” Dr Finkel said.

“Our global research community has never been more important. I have been impressed by all of the participants’ willingness to share knowledge almost in real time, to ensure we are all well placed in developing responses.”

Tapping into the wide-ranging networks of scientific and technical experience available to the Chief Scientist, Dr Finkel has been consulting with experts from around the country to support the dialogue’s discussions and his advice to government.

Information on clinical trials being conducted in Australia, and how we are working to source extra ventilator units for use in intensive care units has been shared in the past week.

The dialogue has also provided Australia with the opportunity to connect to modellers in the US studying intensive care unit needs which will assist our planning for the coming weeks and months.

The weekly meeting is designed to bring together global counterparts to understand the progress of COVID-19, and to discuss challenges associated with the pandemic. It is chaired by Director of the White House Office of Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Member of President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, Dr Kelvin Droegemeier.

Along with Australia, other nations participating in the weekly calls are Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

This week’s discussions focussed on

  • Artificial intelligence researchers developing tools to analyse the extensive machine-readable coronavirus literature, made available globally in response to a unified call for immediate open access by the nations listed above, using the Kaggle platform;
  • Sharing epidemiologic and other information among National Focal Points;
  • Working together to further understand the impacts of co-morbidities and age distribution on COVID-19;
  • Disseminating resources to improve understanding of individual and community perceptions and behaviours, including impacts on disease progression worldwide;
  • Promoting multinational, multidisciplinary collaboration to address COVID-19; and
  • Updating the group on serological testing, vaccine and therapeutics development, and clinical trials in each country and sharing discoveries as soon as possible.