S’pore to begin virus vaccine human trials this week

SINGAPORE • Singapore will start human trials as early as this week for a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Duke-NUS Medical School and American pharmaceutical company Arcturus Therapeutics, the Straits Times reports.

“Lunar-Cov19” is among 25 vaccine candidates globally to reach the human-trials stage and will be tested on 108 healthy volunteers of various ages in Singa- pore, the newspaper said.

The trial will determine the vaccine’s safety and its ability to produce the “soldiers” needed to help the body fight an infection,

Professor Ooi Eng Eong, deputy director of Duke-NUS Medical School’s emerging infectious diseases programme, was cited as saying.

Starting next week, the vaccine, which has received more than £40 million (RM218 million) in the UK government funding in addition to £5 million philanthropic donations, will be trialled in six additional centres.

Preclinical studies have shown that the vaccine produced highly specific antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in mice, which were able to neutralise the virus, according to the statement. — Bloomberg