National Young Judge: Clarissa Peasley (18) from Forbes is one of seven national finalists in the prestigious annual merino fleece young judges competition announced by Agricultural Shows of Australia (ASA). The competition brings together the best young Merino fleece judges aged from 15 to 25 in each state. Clarissa is the NSW state finalist and currently in year 12 doing her final months before graduation. “I have a strong passion for the sheep industry and ten years from now I hope to have made an impact in the agricultural industry.” She started doing shows at Red Bend Catholic College, and in year 10 moved to St Pauls College in Walla Walla for their amazing agriculture program.
Free Mental Health Programs: As COVID-19 flares up across NSW, Marathon Health, a not-for-profit, registered charity, encourages anyone feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed to reach out to the mental health support options available to them. Barbara Geddes, Marathon Health Registered Psychologist said maintaining a strong mind during these periods included exercising daily, eating well, and trying to remain connected as much as possible, whether that be via social media, FaceTime or Zoom. Marathon Health has a range of programs available for people feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. The free services are available for people from the ages of 12. Visit marathonhealth.com.au and search for Strong Minds, NewAccess or headspace for more information.
Fast Tracking COVID-19 Treatments: CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, will spearhead a $1.7 million project to identify new treatments for COVID-19. Scientists will develop a faster, smarter way of rapidly screening existing drugs and advancing those that can be used to treat COVID-19 and aim to have identified three suitable TGA- or FDA-approved drug candidates to progress to phase 2-3 human clinical trials within a year. CSIRO scientist and project leader, Dr S.S. Vasan, said in addition to vaccines, there was an urgent need for safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 treatments that specifically targeted the virus. “A great strategy to find potential COVID-19 treatments is to repurpose drugs already approved for other diseases, but the current methods to do this are expensive, time-consuming and not fit-for-purpose. The funding will enable us to develop a multi-tissue drug screening tool, which could help fast-track drugs for human clinical trials and minimise the need for animal trials.”