Information on COVID-19, including latest media coverage, factsheets and research papers from the clinicians at NUHS.
Insights from Our NUHS Experts on the Coronavirus Pandemic
Professor Dale Fisher
Group Director of Medicine, NUHS
21 May 2020
Prof Fisher shared in the Straits Times article "Experts caution against use of disinfection tunnel", there is no evidence that the use of disinfection tunnels are effective. He explained that the virus is inside an infected person, rather than on the clothes he wears. He also added that no one has exposed humans or animals to disinfectants designed for environmental cleaning over the longer term and cautioned that exposure several times a day for months may give rise to potentially inflammatory conditions and cancers.
The virus does not waft along the street contaminating clothes. No one has exposed humans or animals to disinfectants designed for environmental cleaning over the longer term.
25 March 2020
In the Straits Times article "Singapore scientists on the front lines of fight against COVID-19", Prof Fisher contributed on how the spotlight is falling on testing as a way to contain the spread, and how the lack of it will potentially hide a large number of cases.
Less than 1 per cent of tests are positive, which reflects the large number being done.
21 March 2020
In a full-page interview with Straits Times, Prof Fisher, who chairs the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, highlighted his remarks that Singapore has been ahead of the curve for several weeks in the COVID-19 outbreak.
If we look at what we are doing differently than others, I think the biggest one is Singapore doesn't let positive patients go back into the community...
Professor Paul Anantharajah Tambyah
Infectious Diseases Specialist, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
Senior Consultant, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, National University Hospital
18 April 2020
In the Straits Times article "Blame COVID-19 on human activity, not bats: Expert", Prof Tambyah shared that asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic transmission is one reason COVID-19 poses such a formidable challenge for healthcare systems around the world. He added that patients with COVID-19 have the highest amount of the virus in their bodies at the onset of the disease when they may not feel sick. He also addressed reports that loss of one's sense of smell is a tell-tale sign of coronavirus infection.
The virus has to get into the cell, otherwise we will just sneeze it out or it'll go right through us... It happens that the cells in the olfactory epithelium do have this receptor. So it is possible that's how the virus gets in and damages the sense of smell early.
Associate Professor Alex Cook
Vice Dean (Research), NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
14 May 2020
In the Straits Times article "'Herd immunity' doesn't always work: Expert", A/Prof Cook warned that the “herd immunity” strategy might have worked against the H1N1 influenza pandemic a decade ago, but the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is more infectious and severe. He shared that It is not clear that such a strategy against COVID-19 is working, adding that many countries that had initially adopted it have since abandoned the idea. Most countries are now aligned with the World Health Organisation’s advice on reducing the number of cases as much as possible.
Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang
Infectious Diseases Programme Leader, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
22 May 2020
In the Channel NewsAsia article "Can COVID-19 patients keep testing positive but no longer be infectious?", A/Prof Hsu shared that there is a "significant proportion" of patients who are tested positive for COVID-19 but no longer infectious. He pointed out that this would apply to all patients in the third week following the onset of their illness.
Presumably, this would apply to all patients in the third week following the onset of their illness and who still test positive for the virus, which is a significant proportion of all patients.
13 May 2020
In the Straits Times article "Coronavirus: Why a double negative test is needed before discharge", A/Prof Hsu explained that it is a necessary precaution as experts do not have conclusive evidence about whether people who continue to shed the virus for a long time remain infectious. He added that there is hope that a time-based rather than test-based discharge policy may soon be viable – something which would provide relief to the nation's healthcare system.
25 March 2020
In the Straits Times article "Countries, including Singapore, in race to develop vaccine", A/Prof Hsu noted that vaccine trials can be conducted conducively in Singapore even though our institutions may not be able to substantiate the production costs.
While the cost of bringing a vaccine to market is beyond Singapore institutions, we can conduct the vaccine trials here, given our excellent research facilities.