Experts map “post-jab” future in GSK-sponsored panel discussion

Australia’s long term future in dealing with COVID-19 will include a careful balance of vaccinations, treatments and ongoing infection control measures, according to an expert panel convened by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) and sponsored by GSK Australia.

The panel discussion (“Pandemic to endemic - beyond the jab”) was facilitated by economist Melinda Cilento, who is the CEO of CEDA. Today’s discussion was the first in a series of three sessions that will focus on Australia’s post-pandemic future.

GSK Australia Managing Director Christi Kelsey says that treatments for COVID-19 look set to play an important role alongside vaccines as we seek to keep people out of hospital and lessen the public health impact of the disease. 

“Effective, evidence-based treatments for COVID-19 are an important piece of the puzzle as Australia seeks to lessen the public health impact of the disease. From the GSK perspective, we are very proud to have been involved in research focused on new treatments for COVID-19. Part of the reason I raise this is to highlight the key role that innovative pharmaceutical companies continue to play in our response to COVID-19,” says Kelsey.

“Effective treatments for COVID-19 may help us build on our current outbreak response to one where we can test, trace and then treat people, particularly those who may be at risk of serious disease outcomes. This could potentially help some people to recover faster and may help stop community spread.”

Panellist Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC, said that effective treatments will continue to be important in management of COVID in future.

“It is up to us as many as possible to get vaccinated. But we would also positively benefit from more treatments that we could use at diagnosis stage. That may prove enormously important and save many lives over the next few months. Once the Delta variant is established as it has been in New South Wales and Victoria we not going to get rid of it. We need to get used to this idea.”

According to Professor Raina MacIntyre, who is Head of the Biosecurity Program at the University of NSW, non-pharmaceutical options will remain important as we navigate our way out of pandemic.

“We need more than just vaccines in this interim period. We need to use masks, social distancing and every little measure we can to help reduce contact between people. But we also need to think about clean and safe indoor air. We don’t accept dirty water out of a tap but we accept dirty air all the time. Whether it’s bushfire smoke or viruses, we need to pay a lot more attention to safe indoor air.”

The next “Pandemic to endemic” panel discussion will be in November 2021.


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