The World Health Organisation has urged increased efforts to combat disease outbreaks and share data to help develop new vaccines and therapies.

Without the development of new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, there will be devastating impacts on the global economy and international security.

The global epidemic risk has steadily escalated with the movement of approximately 2.1 billion airline passengers annually.

Infectious diseases are now able to spread faster than ever before, increasing the risk of new major epidemics such as AIDS, SARS and Ebola fever.

New diseases are emerging at the historically unprecedented rate of one per year.

Since the 1970s, 39 new diseases have developed, and in the last five years alone, the WHO has identified more than 1,100 epidemics including cholera, polio, Ebola, Marburg virus, Nipah virus and bird flu.

Pandemic influenza could affect more than 1.5 billion people (25% of the world population).

Emergence and re-emergence of disease is occurring globally. Each newly emergent pathogen has had a tsunami-like effect on our health systems, as exemplified by the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

The rising tide of antibiotic resistance of bacterial pathogens is without likelihood of abatement, and also threatens to overwhelm heath budgets.

It is crucial that a concerted and coordinated effort is undertaken to address these problems, and the establishment of AID at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and UQ provides the opportunity to significantly support the national infectious diseases research effort.