Research charities join forces during COVID-19

Spinnaker Health Research Foundation and Charlie’s Foundation have agreed to join forces to appeal to the business and philanthropic community to assist at this time of unprecedented need.

Jordy Cook
March 28, 2020

Spinnaker Health Research Foundation and Charlie’s Foundation have agreed to join forces to appeal to the business and philanthropic community to assist at this time of unprecedented need.

The initiative will provide valuable data to all research programs in WA and needs to commence immediately to ensure the clinical teams are ahead of the infection curve as hospitals face an increasing burden of patients requiring urgent care. 

Executive Director of WA Health Translation Network, Gary Geelhoed said WA has had the opportunity to learn from events in the UK, Italy and Spain, where hospitals are overwhelmed and unable to run the research and trials needed to find the best treatments and cure for the disease.

“There is currently no other known project anywhere in the world that will have the quality enabled capacity to underpin deeper investigations of the virus and to give the opportunity of possible effective treatments to many West Australians.” Professor Geelhoed said. 

The Foundations are seeking immediate funding of $1 million which will be matched by the state government to ensure the collection of samples can commence from next week and existing trials of possible effective treatments can be expanded. 

The larger project will require a further $5 million to allow a comprehensive clinical trial response over the next 12 months.

The West Australian COVID Research Response is a world-first collaborative and integrated program. It is being led by senior clinicians and administrators under the leadership of the WA Health Translation Network consisting of researchers from WA’s five universities, medical research, institutes, hospitals and the Health Department. 

The clinical trial will involve the capture and storage of samples from patients who are being treated in hospital and will allow researchers to obtain data throughout the cycle and progression of the infection. The project has been designed in a direct response to the protocol developed by the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC) supported by the World Health Organisation. 

Both these foundations came together to ensure the urgent request for funding could be met as a priority. 

“We do not have time to wait,” said Spinnaker chief executive Dana Henderson.

“Protocols are in place and we need to ensure the data is collected from next week so more patients can be included in possible life-saving trials. Each day, as more cases are diagnosed, the rapid response opportunity will be missed.” Charlie’s Foundation executive director Vicki Rasmussen said this was an important opportunity, not just locally, but globally.

“Our research community knows that the best way for us to minimise the personal and population impact of Covid is to stop it in its tracks and we just do not know how to do that at the moment. But WA could lead the world in finding that answer,” Ms Rasmussen said.

“At the moment nobody understands just how far-reaching this virus could be, or how life-impacting for those who have been infected. This coordinated approach in response to the global call for support is of paramount importance. WA will be part of the solution”

Both foundations will be directing all funds raised through this appeal directly to the project which will be further supported by funding grants from the state and federal government. 

The foundations are asking the corporate and the philanthropic community to consider what capacity they could help today during this global fight. 

Every day we wait the more severe and impactful the pandemic becomes.

Jordy Cook

Hey guys! I’m Jordy and I love all things food, fun and outdoors. Thank you for sharing my passion for Perth and all the amazing opportunities that come along with this city.