Vaccine research in Australia gets $6 million funding boost
The federal government is investing almost $6 million in additional research and development for three Australian COVID-19 vaccines.
Under the funding from the Medical Research Future Fund, the University Of Melbourne will receive almost $3 million to develop two vaccine candidates.
The University of Sydney will also receive almost $3 million for a clinical trail to test the safety and effectiveness of a novel DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine.
“The rapid development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a critical Australian government priority,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.
“Subject to further work, the resulting vaccines could eventually be deployed in Australia and around the world.”
The announcement comes as Victoria reports a further improvement in containing coronavirus cases, with just 14 new infections recorded.
It takes Metropolitan Melbourne’s 14-day new case rate down to 36.2, well below the state’s target of 50.
“That is proof positive, beyond any question, that this strategy is working,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in regard to his lockdown strategy.
However, the death toll continued to mount, with five further fatalities reported, taking the Victorian toll 762 and the national count to 849.
All the new deaths were linked to aged care facilities.
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The Morrison government has also come to the aid of families and child care providers in Victoria, announcing $305 million in additional funding which primarily aimed at the state.
The package includes a child care fee freeze for Victorian families until January 31, 2021, while there is a relaxation of the activity test for Australian families whose activity level has been impacted by COVID-19 will also be extended to April 4, 2021.
“Victorian families and providers will continue to be supported by the federal government so they can get back on their feet following the second wave,” federal Eductaion Minister Dan Tehan said in a statement.
Already the federal government has provided $205 million in support for Victorian families and child care services to keep families connected to care and services open and viable.”
Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 9pm and 5am.
During the curfew, people in Melbourne can only leave their house for work, and essential health, care or safety reasons. Between 5am and 9pm, people in Melbourne can leave the home for exercise, to shop for necessary goods and services, for work, for health care, or to care for a sick or elderly relative. The full list of restrictions can be found here.
All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.
If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://sbs.com.au/coronavirus
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