S’pore may have a Covid-19 vaccine by early 2021

STRAITS TIMES – 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 American 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 USD45 million (SGD60.5 million) into the manufacture of the vaccine, said Arcturus.

EDB will also have the right to purchase up to USD175 million of the vaccine at pre-negotiated prices, with shipments expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021, 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 Prof 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 in 2021.