Transitioning to the new normal

Every country in the world is planning for the future. Australia is planning for the future. The COVID pandemic is running its course whilst the science and medical profession are finding the solutions to address the pandemic and stabilise the world. 

The newly released government plan for Australia outlines 4 step phases:

  1. Vaccinate, prepare and pilot – current phase
  2. Post Vaccination Phase
  3. Consolidation Phase
  4. Final Phase

There is consensus in the words of Alan Joyce from Qantas this week who said, “We need some clear metrics to be able to chart our progress, so we know when we’re halfway or three-quarters of the way through each of the phases.”

It is reassuring to know that the government is working with the Doherty Institute about the level of vaccine coverage needed before we move through the phases. Long term Arinex ambassador, Professor Jose Villadangos, Laboratory Head at Doherty Institute states: “Our team of experts here at the Doherty Institute continue their vital work to minimise the impact of the novel coronavirus. We have clinicians treating patients in hospitals; scientists continuing to perform tests on suspected cases; epidemiologists working closely with the state and Commonwealth Governments on policy; and researchers working on antibody tests and COVID treatments.”

Professor Peter Doherty explains: “As a laboratory-based scientist who trained initially in veterinary (not human) medicine, I first became conscious of the enormous importance of the social sciences during the earlier phase of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that marked the last two decades of the 20th century. The HIV pandemic is, in fact, continuing, though it is suppressed in those countries with the resources to supply the very specific drugs (small molecules) that hold the virus in check and allow people who are infected to live relatively normal lives. If only we had a vaccine against HIV but, despite enormous effort and expenditure, that just hasn’t happened.”

Professor Doherty adds: “When it comes to COVID-19, the harm reduction strategy that is vitally important for this country to open up to the rest of the world is to achieve a sufficiently high level of vaccine coverage. Unlike the situation for HIV, we have great vaccines that (even with the emergence of mutant SARS-CoV-2 strains) are protecting against the development of severe disease and death. Still, no matter how effective a vaccine may be in preventing symptoms, overall efficacy is clearly dependent on achieving a sufficiently high level of community coverage. With COVID-19, we should see clear evidence of ‘herd immunity’ once 70-80% of the population is vaccinated.”

“We believe we will find the right balance to safeguard Australia and will continue to provide support on the government 4 phased approach,” confirms Professor Villadangos. Supporting Australia is at the forefront of the entire medical profession.

Professor Colleen Lau, an ANU Honorary Professor currently based at the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland is the project lead on developing the CRISPER National Summary Dashboard and the new contract tracing web app pulls together current contact tracing alert locations from across the country and presents the information in an interactive mobile-friendly map. These developments will set Australia up for the future.

History has shown that every pandemic will run its course. We are living proof that if we work together, we will transit to our preferred position sooner rather than later.

Arinex CEO, Nicole Walker said, “People are nervous about attending in-person events, but as an industry it is important we continue to move forward, assist our clients and demonstrate our capabilities in delivering COVID safe events where we will continue to showcase best practice to ensure the safety of attendees.”

Reference: Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty – Doherty Institute – direct link here

Originally published content on The Conversation

Joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital