$5m to lure world s top researchers
Wesfarmers Chairman Dr Bob Every with Jack Day, Telethon child. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

There are hopes WA could become an international leader in child health research after a $5 million Telethon donation was made to bring some of the world's top medical minds to the State.

Wesfarmers has pledged the donation over four years to help attract top child health researchers to WA for world-first projects, developing new vaccines and infection treatments.

Telethon Institute director Jonathan Carapetis said the money would be used to lure the "best and brightest" to the centre, which will be known as the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases and based at Telethon Institute for Child Research in Subiaco.

"We want Perth to be right up the top of the list," Professor Carapetis said. "With this centre, this allows us to get some of the greatest minds from Europe or South American and bring them to WA."

Among the projects was a plan to create a penicillin implant to treat rheumatic fever, which affects WA at record rates and is prominent in many Aboriginal communities. Researchers also aim to create a vaccine to prevent rheumatic heart disease.

"We've already done a lot of the preliminary research to show it's achievable . . . in five years," Professor Carapetis said.

"It will be an absolute game-changer for rheumatic heart disease around the world."

The centre will also look into creating a new blood test to quickly diagnose infections such as salmonella and E.coli.

The test would be similar to those used to test for malaria.

Professor Carapetis said the test was expected to be in a clinical trial stage within five years.

The centre will also try to raise WA vaccination rates to the highest in Australia.

Wesfarmers chairman Bob Every said the company had a history of supporting the institute and had confidence the donation could help the Perth centre carry out research that otherwise might not have taken place.

"Hopefully, if you're bringing in world-class people, there will be breakthroughs," he said.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Change location

°

- °

Lifestyle Videos

Latest

More from The West