Singapore scientists to start human trials of COVID-19 vaccine in August

Singapore scientists to start human trials of COVID-19 vaccine in August


Singapore   /   Tue, June 16, 2020   /   05:00 pm

Singapore scientists testing a COVID-19 vaccine from US  firm Arcturus Therapeutics plan to start human trials in August after promising initial responses in mice.

More than 100 vaccines are being developed globally, including several already in human trials from the likes of AstraZeneca and Pfizer, to try and control a disease that has infected more than 8 million people and killed over 430,000 worldwide.

The mRNA approach has not yet been approved for any medicine so its backers, which also include US biotech firm Moderna , are treading uncharted territory.

Because of that, Ooi said longer studies were needed to ensure its safety.

“The most optimistic case is that it’s about this time next year, that we will have a vaccine,” Ooi said.

Ooi is also working on a monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 and will begin safety trials on healthy people this week, before testing on COVID-19 patients in the coming months.

Ooi said potential deployment of the treatment could be faster than the vaccine, without giving an exact timeline.

Antibodies are generated in the body to fight off infection. Monoclonal antibodies mimic natural antibodies and can be isolated and manufactured in large quantities to treat diseases.

Singapore has one of the highest infection tallies in Asia, with more than 40,000 cases, largely due to mass outbreaks in dormitories for its migrant workers.

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