A team of scientists from Singapore, including researchers from the Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) along with other Singapore healthcare institutes, has successfully cultured the COVID-19 coronavirus from an infected patient’s clinical sample. This virus culture will be used to develop new diagnostic methods, monitoring any potential mutations and in testing for a potential vaccine and drugs.
“This is a crucial step forward for Singapore and neighbouring countries in response to the evolving coronavirus outbreak. We will continue our efforts and do our best to serve the nation, the region and the world in controlling this outbreak,” said Professor Wang Linfa, Director of the Duke-NUS Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme. Prof Wang is one of the most recognised international experts on emerging zoonotic viruses and is currently serving on multiple World Health Organization (WHO) committees on the coronavirus.
The COVID-19 virus was successfully cultured within Duke-NUS’ containment laboratory, ABSL3, shared Assistant Professor Danielle Anderson, Scientific Director of the ABSL3 facility. “This is highly significant as it will accelerate the assessment of trial vaccines’ effectiveness and lead to the development of early-diagnostic tests to detect the virus in asymptomatic patients,” she said.
Singapore is the third country in the world outside of China to culture the virus.
See press release.