COVID lockdowns, promising tests and Asia potential

27 May 21

IT’S official – Victoria is back into lockdown because of this damn virus that just keeps coming back for more.

A bit like the summer that kept coming back for one last reminder but seems to have finally bid us farewell in Western Australia, every time this virus appears to be done with, it pops its ugly head up to create more mayhem.

It also creates more opportunities for ill-informed politicians to start another slinging match about the slow rollout of Australia’s vaccination program. But what many of them don’t seem to understand is that even with the vaccination, there’s no evidence COVID will be eradicated.

The most tangible promise that the World Health Organisation seems to be backing is that available vaccines will alleviate the severity of the virus. But there’s no evidence they will stop people from becoming infected or remaining infectious for a period of time.

So to be realistic, our best chance is to identify who has the virus as early as possible, isolate them until it has run its course and move on. Which is an almost perfect segue into our interview with Paul Carboon, CEO of innovative diagnostics company Microbio.

The company first devised a test to identify the range of pathogens that cause the potentially deadly sepsis infection. Then Microbio was able to repurpose its test to diagnose COVID-19 in its very early stages. The test – which is low cost and can be readily utilised in just about any laboratory setting, is proving immensely successful in India, where it is moving to advanced human trials.

Paul gives us the back story on how Microbio came into being and where it plans to go from here.

While it might be hard to find any silver linings in this rampaging COVID-19 pandemic, there are a few potential positives, including a stronger focus on food security and healthy eating. That in turn brings Australia into the global spotlight for its clean, green credentials and ability to provide healthy, abundant produce to the world.

It’s leading to growth and promising investment opportunities in listed agri-food companies such as Alterra Limited.

The company is developing productive agricultural land and water assets including its Carpenters avocado project in Pemberton, WA. We focussed The Yield camera on CEO Oliver Barnes to find out more.

While COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the world, some might think opportunities for international trade are being hindered. But here at The Yield, we know there are better ways of doing things, which is why we trotted along to the Australian Institute of Management WA’s Asian Engagement Summit in Perth last week.

We discovered that travel restrictions don’t necessarily equal trade limitations and gained some considerable insights into why WA is optimally positioned to develop major trade opportunities across the Asian continent.

Opportunities or not, it doesn’t change the fact that yours truly was all set to head to Melbourne next week to catch up with clients, gather content for the next issue, try out some new hospitality venues and grab a good dose of cultural and sporting medicine.

Well that won’t be happening, thanks to the virus being let loose again, so while you enjoy reading this latest issue, I’ll be busy cancelling flights and accommodation, and looking for alternatives to keep me busy over the June long weekend.

Happy reading,

Ed