As various companies and partnerships around the globe scramble to develop a cure or vaccine to put an end to the spread of the deadly COVID-19, Singapore is no different.
Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore and United States-based Arcturus Therapeutics have joined hands and are now carrying out pre-clinical studies on a vaccine candidate that the team have created.
If the vaccine shows positive results in animals, it will next be tested on healthy adults.
According to Professor Ooi Eng Eong, the deputy director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme at the School, Duke-NUS plans to begin the clinical trials by August this year.
Once the vaccine is created, Singapore will own its rights here, while the US firm has the liberty to market the product around the world.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced last week that there are currently three candidate vaccines that are being tested in clinical trials, whereas 67 others are in pre-clinical evaluation. The Arcturus/Duke-NUS’s vaccine candidate falls in the latter category.
If that’s not all, there are many different types of vaccines that are being created as possible candidates as well with the Arcturus/Duke-NUS partnership focusing around an mRNA vaccine.
For those who are not aware, this is a brand new technology and as yet none have been licensed for use, said the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.
“mRNA vaccines are produced in a lab. In a pandemic like now, such vaccines have the advantage of being faster and cheaper to produce than conventional vaccines,” said Prof Ooi.
He added, “And Arcturus has a unique type of mRNA technology that, if successful, can make the process even faster.”
WHO stated that it will take around 18 months for the vaccine to be developed, and this would be a super fast-tracked process.