This ScienceTalk piece about COVID-19 treatments and their role in the war against the pandemic was co-authored by the Experimental Drug Development Centre’s (EDDC) Chief Executive Officer Professor Damian O’Connell, and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases’ (NCID) Associate Professor David Lye.
The article highlights different therapeutic approaches to treating COVID-19, plus global and local efforts to develop therapeutics against COVID-19. In Singapore, A*STAR is collaborating with Chugai Pharmabody Research, a research centre of Japan's Chugai Group in Singapore, on joint research on a therapeutic antibody to fight COVID-19. The project focuses on a potential therapeutic antibody discovered by a research team at A*STAR's Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), which worked in close collaboration with DSO National Laboratories at their high-containment Biosafety Level-3 facilities.
Meanwhile, EDDC is supporting several local programmes to address the immediate situation at hand with a mid-to-long term view in mind. Apart from active in-house drug discovery, its programmes include sharing technical know-how on drug development with local players, participating in the national discourse on COVID-19 in several forums, supporting the development of diagnostic assays (particularly the Fortitude Kit for detecting SARS-CoV-2) as well as the clinical translation of novel monocloncal antibodies (mAbs) against SARS-CoV-2 from bench to bedside.
EDDC’s discovery programme on small molecules focuses on developing a broad-spectrum antiviral drug to counter future novel infectious disease outbreaks, under an accelerated timeframe. EDDC is also supporting local biotech companies – ASLAN pharmaceuticals, AUM Biosciences, and Rhea Pharmaceutical Sciences – to test their compounds as possible treatments for COVID-19.
In addition, EDDC is working with DSO in the pre-clinical and clinical development of a potential COVID-19 therapeutic called AOD01, which is a SARS-CoV-2 neutralising mAb. The safety and pharmacokinetics of AOD01 will be evaluated in healthy subjects during clinical studies in Singapore, followed by looking at the drug's antiviral activity in COVID-19 patients.
Reported in: The Straits Times