Asia Minute: Singapore Testing a COVID-19 Treatment

Jun 11, 2020

Clinical trials are underway around the world in the search for a treatment for COVID-19. They are in various stages of research. And in Singapore, one is about to launch human clinical trials.

Nearly two dozen healthy volunteers in Singapore are about to start a clinical trial for a treatment for COVID-19. It's not a vaccine — it's an immune system protein that targets the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

The six-week trial is the first phase of human testing, and the first trial of a coronavirus treatment to take place in Singapore.

The treatment and approach were devised by Tychan — a Singapore biotechnology company backed by the government's investment arm, Temasek Holdings.

The treatment is aimed at reducing the severity of the disease and speeding up recovery. So, for example it could reduce the need for some patients to go on a ventilator to assist their breathing, or help those who are on ventilators to progress and breathe on their own.

Singapore's government fast-tracked approval for human trials, and the Straits Times reports it's coordinated efforts among a diverse group of departments — from the Ministries of Health and Defense to the Economic Development board and other agenices.

The company has previously worked on treatments for Zika and Yellow Fever. And it its initial round of testing of the COVID treatment is successful, it will seek approval for broader human trials.