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.



  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there