Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Singapore could have Covid-19 vaccine by first quarter 2021



Singapore could have Covid-19 vaccine by first quarter 2021

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Preliminary findings indicate positive responses in both safety and human immune response. THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore could have Covid-19 vaccine by first quarter 2021

Singapore could have a Covid-19 vaccine by early next year. The first shipments of the vaccine co-developed by Singapore researchers are expected in the first quarter.

Arcturus Therapeutics, the US pharmaceutical company working with Duke-NUS scientists on the vaccine, said this on Monday, as it announced positive preliminary results from the early-stage clinical trials ongoing in Singapore.

Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) is pumping in some $45 million into the manufacture of the vaccine, said Arcturus.

EDB will also have the right to purchase up to $175 million of the vaccine at pre-negotiated prices, with shipments expected to begin in the first quarter of next year, said Arcturus.

Duke-NUS Medical School’s Professor Ooi Eng Eong, who had co-developed the vaccine with Arcturus, said the results so far show that the vaccine could be effective as a single dose.

“This differentiates this investigational vaccine from many other Covid-19 vaccines in development,” said Professor Ooi, who is also a member of Arcturus’ Vaccine Platform Scientific Advisory Board.

“The vaccine has the potential to provide important public health benefits by greatly facilitating broad administration across multiple populations worldwide.”

Arcturus chief financial officer Andy Sassine said the funds from Singapore will provide the firm with additional resources to sustain rapid scale up of (the vaccine) to meet the requirements of its existing Israeli and Singapore agreements as well as other potential supply deals next year.

The encouraging preliminary findings from the Singapore co-developed Covid-19 vaccine comes as the race to the vaccine heats up.

Earlier this week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their experimental vaccine is 90 per cent effective at preventing Covid-19. They are still awaiting data on safety, which could come later this month.

Some 106 volunteers are enrolled in Arcturus’ early-stage trials in Singapore, of whom 28 received placebos. Seventy-eight subjects received one dose of the vaccine, while the rest received two injections.

During these early-stage trials, researchers look out for dangerous side effects and analyse patient samples to see how the human immune system is responding to the vaccine.

They also seek to determine how many doses are needed to incite the desired immune response.

Preliminary findings indicate positive responses in both safety and human immune response.

Arcturus said no subjects have withdrawn from the study, and that there have been no serious adverse events deemed to be treatment-related. As for the immune response, both antibody and T-cell response have been observed in volunteers.

The Straits Times had earlier reported that these later-stage clinical trials could start before the end of this year.

Such trials are much larger in scope than the earlier ones, usually involving thousands to tens of thousands of people. These are often held across multiple jurisdictions or countries. The aim of these trials is to see if the vaccine can confer protection from infection.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • No ‘Crown Prince’ exists to buy France football club: ministry

    The Ministry of the Royal Palace has denied media reports that a Cambodian “Crown Prince” had purchased the AS Saint Etienne football club of France’s top-flight LIGUE 1 at the cost of €100 million ($117 million). In a press statement on September 19, the ministry stressed that Cambodia

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old