Duke-NUS COVID-19 Update
At Duke-NUS Medical School, we have been working hard as a team in the fight against COVID-19.
Duke-NUS scientists have been at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak since it broke out. The Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Programme team at Duke-NUS Medical School was among the first in the world to isolate the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19, after China and Australia. The team led by Prof Wang Linfa, Director of the EID Programme, and Asst Prof Danielle Anderson, Scientific Director of the Duke-NUS ABSL3 laboratory, successfully cultured the virus from patient samples early in the outbreak investigation and applied serological tests to establish an important missing link between two major COVID-19 clusters in Singapore. Their research was featured in news headlines around the world, and included public commendations by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Kiat.
A sample of the COVID-19 virus that was cultured in the Duke-NUS containment laboratory.
Duke-NUS researchers’ exploratory collaborations with other organisations towards the development, testing and trialling of vaccines have resulted in a new partnership with Arcturus Therapeutics, a US-based biotech firm, to develop a COVID-19 vaccine for Singapore. This partnership aims to bring a vaccine candidate to clinical testing, using Arcturus’ STARR technology and a unique platform developed at Duke-NUS that enables rapid screening of vaccines for safety and effectiveness. Duke-NUS, in collaboration with the SingHealth team, has extensive clinical trials capacity, and Singapore, with its multi-ethnic population, is an ideal site for such trials.
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.
Asst Prof Danielle Anderson and Mr Adrian Kang, Research Assistant at Duke-NUS, working in the containment facility.