The WAHTN was formed five years ago to help coordinate medical research efforts and especially its translation into practice. Our twenty members include WA’s universities, Medical Research Institutes and hospitals private and public as well as the Department of Health. Given our traditional role as a network as well as being personally requested by the Department of Health and Health Minister, WAHTN is working to assist in communicating and helping collaboration among our many members as we all work to minimise the health consequences of COVID-19, capture data and relevant specimens prospectively and initiate trials to help mitigate the effects of the virus. With this in mind we have created this web page to better capture coordination and allow communication between WA researchers. We will be providing access to relevant documents, times of meetings, useful resources and links.

Please contact us with suggestions on how this web page can be used to best advantage.

WA is well placed to respond to the research challenges thrown up by COVID-19. We have a relatively isolated population large enough to study but small enough socially that we have good relationships and collaboration between our main institutions, essentially WAHTN partners. Our relative isolation works in our favour in being able to capture what happens in our State compared to many other jurisdictions where populations blur.

 

COVID-19 Research Collaboration Meetings

As social engineering is working to “flatten the curve” to allow our health system to cope, health researchers are working to provide new tools, techniques and treatments aimed at slowing and preventing transmission and minimising the symptoms of COVID-19.

The weekly meetings of WAHTN partner institutions are an opportunity for WA to coordinate a collaborative research driven response to the COVID-19 outbreak, to inform service delivery, reduce transmission, protect both healthcare workers and patients and provide timely treatment. West Australians should be reassured that the research community is pulling out all stops to meet this unique challenge in a step-wise, cooperative manner.

During an online meeting of WAHTN partner institutions on 6 April 2020, Gary Geelhoed reiterated that the guiding document is still in draft and requested that members continue to give feedback. The document outlines details of the agreed three primary work streams; Stream 1 – Supporting platforms, Stream 2 – Community and Stream 3 – Clinical Trials.

Download and read the full meeting minutes

During an online meeting of WAHTN partner institutions on 30 March 2020, the WAHTN COVID-19 Research Response and COVID-19 Research Response contacts spreadsheet was circulated to all attendees. These documents will continue to be refined as more information becomes available. All meeting attendees were asked to provide any comments or feedback via email to Lauren White. The grant application panel has been formed with Peter Klinken as Chair and Peter Richmond, Fiona Wood, Pip Brennan, David Preen and Darren Gibson as panel members.

Download and read the full meeting minutes

During an online meeting of WAHTN partner institutions on 23 March 2020, the various attendees shared and coordinated the varying approaches they are each taking. They agreed that what is needed is a consistent approach to capture data and relevant samples from patients, infrastructure to allow existing and proposed trials of potential treatments to proceed and the ability to store biological samples. Among the proposals were:

  • Ways to repurpose treatments of older illnesses which show promise to treat patients and protect health care workers.
  • Development of tests to predict which of those infected will need more intensive support.
  • The enlargement of the Randomised, Embedded, Multi-factorial, Adaptive Platform Trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia (REMAP-CAP)
    • This innovative trial uses a novel and innovative adaptive trial design to evaluate a number of treatment options simultaneously and efficiently.
    • The design is able to adapt in the event of pandemics and increases the likelihood that patients will receive the treatment that is most likely to be effective for them.
  • Another example - the Australasian COVID-19 (ASCOT) Trial which recruits patients who are not in intensive care to test a number of promising treatments.

To better support this work WAHTN is working closely with the Health Consumers Council WA and the Consumer and Community Health Research Network to help streamline the enrolment of willing patients into proposed trials. Funding to enrol patients, store biological samples and provide adequate research support staff is being made available through the Health Department and Research Foundations.

Download and read the full meeting minutes

 

COVID-19 Research Collaboration Advisory Group Meetings

Please find the meeting minutes of the Advisory Group to the WA COVID-19 Research Collaboration below:

 

Key related documents

Keep up to date with the WA COVID-19 Research Collaboration:

 

Western Australian Government announcements

Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 related announcements from the Government of Western Australia:

 

News and Media

Keep up to date with the latest WAHTN and WAHTN partner, COVID-19 related news and media releases:

 

COVID-19 Research funding

Keep up to date with the funding opportunities that have been released to support the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia:

Please note: Although applications are now closed, a new round may be announced when funding becomes available. Please keep an eye on this space.

The COVID-19 Research Grants Program has been established to provide funding for high-quality COVID-19 related research projects that have the potential to be translated into improved policy and/or practice across the WA public health system. The scope of possible research includes prevention, surveillance, diagnostics, treatments, vaccines and mental health repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications close 1pm (AWST), 8 April 2020.

Please note: Although applications are now closed, a new round may be announced when funding becomes available. Please keep an eye on this space.

The Australian Government has, to date, released the following grant opportunities to accelerate research to develop treatments for those individuals infected with COVID-19:

 

Reliable resources

We will continue to keep you updated with relevant and reliable resources as part of our research coordination:

The goal of the CIVIC study is to identify cardiovascular risk factors for incidence and outcomes related to COVID-19 across the spectrum of disease presentation and severity to provide a resolution snapshot on the current pandemic as well as develop an infrastructure within infected populations for long-term follow-up and molecular and biomarker studies to prevent the next global outbreak.

The Western Australian, national and international statistics below are updated daily with an overview of the current situation and the latest case numbers:

ISARIC have developed a portfolio of clinical research resources to accelerate outbreak research and response. All resources are designed to address the most critical public health questions, have undergone extensive review by international clinical experts and are free to use.

NHMRC have released guidance on clinical trials for institutions, HRECs, researchers and sponsors that reflects the shared views of all state and territory Departments of Health, the Clinical Trials Project Reference Group, NHMRC and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The advice represents current thinking and best practice at the Government level and will be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in government policy and public health advice.

REMAP-CAP has released a novel and innovative adaptive trial design to evaluate a number of treatment options simultaneously and efficiently. View REMAP-CAP's adaptive trial resources and their platform trial for ICU patients with COVID-19.

In response to the risk to clinical trials, ARCS is running weekly webinars focused on COVID-19 to help everyone understand what is happening and the strategies different groups are adopting to keep clinical trials going as effectively as possible.