22 July, 2021
QLD’S RAPID VIRUS TESTS STILL OFF LIMITS TO AUSSIES
Two locally-developed rapid COVID-19 testing kit that have been provided Queensland Government funding remain unused in Australia despite the crisis crippling the nation and ongoing reports of states and territories failing to meet testing demand.
The COVID-19 Home Test, developed and produced by Brisbane-based biotech company Ellume, was provided an unspecified funding injection last year by the Palaszczuk Labor Government as part of its Essential Goods and Supply Chain program.
Millions of the tests have been provided and used in the United States, and Ellume is even building a facility there to make even more to meet demand.
The similar EuGeni test, developed by another Brisbane-based company called AnteoTech, has more recently been given $1.4 million by the State Government to help it scale up its operations following approvals being granted by Europe and the UK.
The EuGeni test is designed to be used in a mass-screening setting by a trained operator, as opposed to at home.
To date, neither of these home-grown and taxpayer funded tests have been approved or provided for use in Australia.
Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said Australia had reached an unsustainable phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, with extreme lockdown measures enforced at the drop of the hat and testing capacities insufficient for governmental-imposed demands.
He said it was odd that despite Queensland taxpayers supporting the Brisbane-based inventions, Australians were yet to receive the benefits from the use of the tests.
“We have been largely sheltered from COVID-19 in North Queensland where I am from and even across the whole country, but these outbreaks are going to continue and we all need to find a way to live with this situation sustainably and be able to get on with our lives,” he said.
“Like everyone else, I am sick of the politicking around this virus that our State and Federal Governments keep indulging in – enough is enough.
“People in NSW, Victoria and now South Australia are going through a terrible time at the moment, businesses are going bust, and yet we are constantly hearing reports that clinics in that state cannot keep up with testing demand.
“Our State Government has handed over a significant amount of tax-payer money to support the development of these tests, which is great considering we’re supporting local inventions that will provide jobs and manufacturing opportunities.
“However all these major benefits are currently being sent off-shore because the tests are not allowed to be used here – where is the sense in that?”
Mr Katter is today urging the Queensland Health Minister, Yvette D’Ath, to reach out to her Federal counterparts with regards to getting approvals processes underway for both Queensland-produced tests.
It’s understood granting approval for the tests in Australia requires Federal Government legislative changes that enable the products to be examined by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.