A statement from the CSIRO said $220 million would be provided for upgrading the biocontainment facility, which was set up in 1985, while a sum of $10 million had been made available to support the testing.
The lab helps prevent, prepare for, and control highly infectious diseases of animals as well as zoonotic diseases; the latter pass from animals to humans and account for as much as 75% of diseases that infect humans.
The viruses that cause COVID-19 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome are examples of those that cause zoonotic diseases.
Scientists working in the secure area at CSIRO's Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness. Courtesy CSIRO
"But the emergence of Hendra virus in Australia demonstrated that diseases do not differentiate between animals and humans, so neither will we, as we step up our preparedness and response to both in a more holistic way.
“The centre will continue to build on the expertise delivered through AAHL’s extensive biosecure laboratories combined with CSIRO’s expertise across science disciplines to predict, prevent and manage disease, and turn the breakthroughs of Australia’s medical research community into real world solutions for our greatest challenges, like pandemics.”
Dr Marshall said CSIRO scientists were working to address the battle against COVID-19, but stressed the organisation was well prepared for an exercise of this nature.
"In 2016 we created our Health and Biosecurity business unit to work with our scientists at ACDP and we created our biological manufacturing facility," he said.
"In partnership, and with many other research areas across CSIRO, we are tackling national and international health and biosecurity challenges together, so we can better protect the health of our people, environment, agriculture and industries, and our way of life."
ACDP director Professor Trevor Drew said: “The activity being undertaken by CSIRO at the ACDP is tripartite, reflecting a multisectoral, one-health approach to disease preparedness across the three sectors of humans, animals and the environment which they share.
"CSIRO is fully equipped and well prepared to deliver this capability on behalf of the nation, through its specialist facilities, its expert knowledge-base and its deep collaborative networks extending from academia to industry.
“The CSIRO COVID-19 work is an example of the criticality of a facility like ACDP. In providing a pipeline for rapid validation of a vaccine against this novel virus, we are carefully balancing operating at speed in response to a global public health emergency, we bridge the gap between academia and industry, in delivering the impactful and innovative science, for which CSIRO is renowned."