The Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease (GCEID)
why do we need it?
Currently there is major concern regarding Australia’s ability to respond nationally to unexpected disasters such as the outbreak of infectious disease.
More than 70 percent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic agents- those which start in animals and then manifest in humans. Hendra virus, SARS and avian (bird) flu are a few examples of zoonotic diseases that pose increasing threats to Australia's environment, industries and trade.
This was highlighted in the Australia 2020 Summit Report which indicated that “unpredictable challenges, such as emerging infectious diseases, will occur and Australia needs to consider how it will prepare for the unknown.”
Geelong is home to CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), a world class facility focussed on animal disease diagnosis, research and policy advice. The efforts of AAHL are directed towards the animal perspective of zoonotic disease. There is a need for significant effort into the human side of zoonotic diseases.
Facilities and skills include the CSIRO's animal health high containment facilities, Deakin's research expertise in wild life diseases and Barwon Health's human health capabilities.
what is GCEID?
The City of Greater Geelong, Barwon Health, CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) and Deakin University have established GCEID.
The Centre brings together a unique combination of strengths to identify, monitor and develop treatments for new infectious diseases as they move between wildlife, livestock and human populations.
GCEID will benefit the community by:
- attracting investment into new and emerging fields of research and development
- strengthening educational links across multidiscipline sectors
- creating opportunities for high end employment
- increasing potential for local ‘supply chain’ industry and business development, and
- elevation of the profile of Geelong and the region - the centre will be a cooperative entity that works with agencies and groups with related expertise throughout Australia and internationally.
GCEID will build on the existing collaborative research between CSIRO (AAHL), Barwon Health and Deakin. While great progress has been made, critical infrastructure is needed to realise the full benefits of the Centre.
The project partners are seeking funding under the Commonwealth Regional Development Australia Fund round 4.
Terry Demeo, Manager Planning Strategy & Economic Development, City of Greater Geelong, is championing this project, and can be emailed for more information.