PM Lee: Singapore invests heavily in R&D; builds up COVID-19 vaccine-manufacturing capacity


SINGAPORE Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today said the republic is investing heavily in the research and development (R&D) on COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics while at the same time building up its vaccine manufacturing capacity.

“Our researchers have developed a range of serological and nucleic acid based diagnostic tests, which have been deployed to over 20 countries,” Lee told the Global Vaccine Summit which was co-hosted by the UK government and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, via a video call.

Lee said Singapore’s researchers are also developing therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, as well as a vaccine, and have started clinical trials of various therapeutics.

“In parallel, we are building up our vaccine manufacturing capacity. We intend to offer fill and finish contract manufacturing services to vaccine developers.

“This should help them ramp up production faster, and assure them high standards of safety and quality in the manufacturing process,” Lee said.

Lee said discovering, producing and distributing a safe and effective vaccine is vital to getting life back to normal despite COVID-19.

He expressed his hope that the summit will help focus the minds and resources, and forge partnerships to promote ‘vaccine multilaterism’.

The Global Vaccine Summit is a donor pledging conference to fund the immunisation of children in poor countries against deadly but preventable diseases.

But in the time of COVID-19, the virtual event was also an opportunity for countries to come together to coordinate efforts to develop and produce a COVID-19 vaccine, said Lee.

Lee noted that Singapore welcomes this global call for action and the republic is doing its part.

“We have contributed about US$13 million towards international efforts to combat COVID-19  via the World Health Organisation, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and in donations of essential medical equipment and supplies,” Lee added.