Duke-NUS Medical School Working On Covid-19 Vaccine, Clinical Trials Set For This Year

As Covid-19 gains momentum in Singapore and across the world, scientists and researchers are scrambling to find a remedy for the novel coronavirus.

Singapore’s medical institutions are also playing their part, with Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) currently working with international partners to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

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They hope to commence clinical trials for the vaccine this year.

Duke-NUS teaming up with international partners to come up with trial

On Wednesday (25 Mar), Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong addressed Parliament regarding the vaccine developments at Duke-NUS.

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He explained that the university is teaming up with scientists from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and other international partners, reported Channel NewsAsia (CNA).

The team is currently running tests and searching for vaccine candidates so they can commence clinical trials in 2020.

Vaccine available only in 2021, says WHO

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the earliest that a vaccine be available will be next year, said Mr Gan.

Scientists have been successful in isolating and replicating the virus, he said.

This will subsequently aid in developing a cure or vaccine for the disease.

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Diversifying treatment methods

Mr Gan also shared that Singapore’s healthcare professionals are currently looking to make use of existing drugs in the market to treat Covid-19 patients.

The Covid-19 therapeutic workgroup is overseeing the creation of guidelines for drugs such as anti-HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir, Interferon Beta-1B, and hydroxychloroquine.

Furthermore, the National Centre For Infectious Diseases (NCID), Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and the Singapore Blood Bank are also banding together to find a cure by collecting blood samples from recovered Covid-19 patients to aid in research.

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S’pore doctors in trials overseas

Mr Gan was also quoted by CNA as revealing that Singapore doctors are involved in clinical trials overseas, in collaboration with international institutions such as the United States National Institutes of Health.

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Scientists are on track for a cure

Though we might not have a definite cure for the virus as of now, scientists are working hard to develop one.

Hence, Singaporeans can be assured that the Government and healthcare professionals have long-term plans to combat the virus.

We’re putting our trust in institutions such as Duke-NUS to quickly source for an effective Covid-19 vaccine so this nightmare will be over.

Featured image adapted from MCAT.