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Assessing COVID-19 vaccines

Lyna Mohamad

EVYD Technology and University Brunei Darussalam (UBD) will explore collaborative research and studies in fields of mutual interest with the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two parties yesterday.

The signing of the MoU for joint research; training; and to increase the university’s international exposure and recognition in the fields of research, education and in-training programme of mutual interest; will run for an initial five years, with an option for a five-year extension.

Signing the MoU were CEO of EVYD Technology Chua Ming Jie and UBD Vice-Chancellor Dr Hazri bin Haji Kifle.

The two MoU partners are also undertaking a research study with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore that involves the cPass Neutralization Antibody Detection Kit, which measures the real-world evidence of different COVID-19 vaccines in generating neutralising antibodies against the virus.

Results of the study will enable the ministry to assess the immunogenicity of the different vaccines used in the country, as well as inform policy decision-making for any booster programme and risk stratified COVID-19 management.

Universiti Brunei Darussalam Vice-Chancellor Dr Hazri bin Haji Kifle and EVYD Technology CEO Chua Ming Jie at the MoU signing ceremony. PHOTOS: LYNA MOHAMAD
Exchange of documents
Attendees at the event

The second phase is a longitudinal study where participants from the first phase of the study will be followed up at different timelines within 12 months of vaccination, regardless of their history of COVID19 infection after vaccination and beyond this, the two parties are also working with the MoH on a microbiome study involving the same participants from the cPass study.

How the microbiome profile of an individual affects the immunogenicity of different COVID-19 vaccines will be studied through the research where it involves the collection of stool samples of participants after COVID-19 vaccination or infection for analysis of their gut microbiome profile, and correlation with their neutralising antibodies.

Under the MoU, the company will also provide industrial attachments and training stints for UBD students and staff with EVYD Technology and its affiliates.

EVYD Technology may also send its staff to conduct lectures at UBD to educate and equip the students with relevant skills, as well as share their experiences

The EVYD CEO noted that they are pleased to sign the MoU with UBD, and it is the latest initiative to reinforce their strong relationship as the company has already been working with the university on several projects, as well as recruited the university’s graduates.

“This agreement is a further testament to our commitment to develop the talent pool, research capacity and healthcare ecosystem in Brunei. It ties in squarely with our philosophy on engaging the research community and the many other stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem,” he said.

The CEO added that research is the core element that drives the insights and knowledge to power their solutions and enable their artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data to deliver analyses for more informed decision-making.

Chua added on that the MoU will bring the partnership with UBD to the next level and look forward to working further with the talented team on research, education and training that will benefit the health of many people.

The UBD vice-chancellor also expressed delight in signing the MoU, which reaffirms UBD’s pursuit of academic and research excellence through strategic university-industry partnership and it will pave the way for more joint research projects with national relevance that bring deep societal impact, as well as promote more staff and student exchange.

“Leveraging the expertise in Big Data and AI, our collaboration with EVYD will ensure our curriculum stays relevant and current in today’s ever-changing digital landscape, thus allowing us to produce industry-ready graduates,” said the vice-chancellor.