Other initiatives based in the EID programme include research by Professor Gavin Smith and Assistant Professor Yvonne Su on genetic changes in the SARS-CoV-2 virus and their potential implications for the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the therapeutic front, Associate Professor Ashley St John is partnering with Duke Associate Professor in Surgery Alexander Limkakeng on a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of a mast cell stabilising drug. Our Health Services and Systems Research (HSSR) programme is leading COVID-19-related research on multiple dimensions to inform current and future policy decisions, locally and even globally. Professor Marcus Ong, Director of HSSR, and his team, received close to S$1 million from the National Medical Research Council (NMRC) for a project that aims to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the Singapore health system. The team is working on a virtual outbreak model that can be further developed to simulate disease outbreak scenarios and help enhance our national response to future epidemics.
Other HSSR research efforts on different aspects of COVID-19 are being led by Professors Nicholas Graves, David Bruce Matchar, Ecosse Lamoureux, Eric Andrew Finkelstein and Tazeen Hasan Jafar, Associate Professors Angelique Chan and Liu Nan, as well as Assistant Professors Chetna Malhotra, John Pastor Ansah, Rahul Malhotra, Sean Lam, Semra Ozdemir, Sharon Cohan Sung and Yoon Sung Won. Read more on HSSR's research in this special report.
On the policy front, Professor John CW Lim, Director of our Centre for Regulatory Excellence (CoRE), is working with his colleagues in CoRE and the SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute (SDGHI) to provide advice, share knowledge, and facilitate collaborative discussions among international and national stakeholders to promote regulatory cooperation, including vaccine development and access.
The SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC is harnessing the collective strengths of Duke-NUS’ medical education and research capabilities, and SingHealth’s clinical expertise to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. Associate Professor Jenny Low, from Duke-NUS’ EID programme and Co-Director of ViREMiCS, is leading work on early-phase adaptive clinical trials of viral therapeutics and vaccine development, as well as the role of innate immune responses in modulating the outcome of infection or vaccination, which may help to improve therapeutic interventions for infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
Other experts working on COVID-19-related research from the SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC include Dr Indumathi Venkatachalam, Professor Leung Wing Hang, Professor Salvatore Albani, Dr Shirin Kalimuddin and Dr Yung Chee Fu.
In addition to these research efforts, Duke-NUS experts, including EID Programme Founding Director Professor Duane Gubler, Professor Gregory Gray, Assoc Prof St. John and Assistant Professor Ooi Yaw Shin, continue to contribute to public education and safety efforts by sharing their insights on coronaviruses with the media as well as tips on how people can stay safe during this pandemic.
In keeping with the imperative on safety, the Duke-NUS administration has embraced all measures put in place by the Singapore Government to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff with minimal disruptions to the School’s operations.