Modified cancer drug holds hope of Covid-19 vaccine

Experts are also racing to develop safe, viable systems to transport vaccines when they are ready. PHOTO: REUTERS

A modified cancer drug is vying to end the global quest for a Covid-19 vaccine.

Developed by researchers from the National University of Singapore and Monash University in Australia, the vaccine has undergone animal studies and will be ready for clinical trials by the end of next year.

Known as a fusion protein vaccine, it combines an antibody which targets a specific part of the immune system with an antigen, which induces an immune response. It is tailored to be effective in treating the elderly although it is suitable for all ages.

Meanwhile, the number of new cases in Singapore continued to remain low, with 18 cases confirmed yesterday. The Health Ministry said four of these were imported cases.

One, a work permit holder, was the only case in the community, while there were 13 cases residing in dormitories.

Experts are also racing to develop safe, viable systems to transport vaccines when they are ready.

Logistics firms in the United States are working on challenges such as obtaining enough glass vials for the vaccines, and keeping them at temperatures of about minus 80 deg C during transportation.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2020, with the headline Modified cancer drug holds hope of Covid-19 vaccine. Subscribe