Singapore is a step closer to developing a vaccine against hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), thanks to a research study led by Associate Professor Justin Chu from NUS Medicine’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Since the start of this year till February 11, more than 3,420 people have contracted HFMD. In 2016, more than 42,000 people were also affected by HFMD, according to the Ministry of Health’s Weekly Infectious Diseases Bulletin.
The five-year study conducted by Assoc Prof Chu’s team has found the most comprehensive data on how the most virulent of the group of minuscule viruses – enterovirus 71 – infects human cells, which paves the way for the development of a protective vaccine.
Assoc Prof Chu’s team is now studying if existing drugs used to treat flu symptoms can be repurposed to treat HFMD, which would reduce waiting time compared to developing new drugs.
Read more at NUS Highlights.