Photo Credit: National Centre for Infectious Diseases
Together with National Healthcare Group (NHG), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), LKCMedicine is jointly funding a TRipartite Programme in Infectious Diseases for New Discoveries and TreatmENT (TRIDENT) to develop research in infectious diseases and enhance knowledge and capabilities to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR), respiratory tract infections and emerging infectious diseases. The S$9 million-joint initiative endeavours to foster collaboration among infectious diseases researchers and clinicians from partner institutions, facilitating translational research in infectious diseases that will improve patient outcomes as well as affect national policy.
In October 2023, TRIDENT initiated its inaugural grant call for proposals focused on AMR, which currently poses a significant global healthcare threat. Studies have indicated that the improper use of antibiotics can lead to the development of drug-resistant bacteria, diminishing the effectiveness of antimicrobial treatments. The grant call specifically targeted innovative solutions for understanding the genetic foundations and mechanisms of AMR, as well as the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics to address dangerous multidrug-resistant bacteria, providing new treatment options.
In the near future, TRIDENT will broaden its focus to include two other infectious disease areas – respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and influenza, and emerging infectious diseases including vector-borne diseases such as dengue and Zika.
LKCMedicine Director, Respiratory and Infectious Disease Programme and Co-lead of TRIDENT Professor Laurent Renia said, “We are living in a world with new and emerging infectious diseases. As we head towards a ‘post-antibiotic’ era with antibiotics becoming vastly less effective in treating common infections, there is an urgent need for new treatments to tackle these health threats. Through LKCMedicine’s strength in bacteriology, our BSL-3 facility for research on highly virulent pathogens, and collaboration with the wider NTU scientific community in biomedical engineering, genomics and metagenomics, we can help to bring forth clinical research in TRIDENT that can be translated into new diagnostics and treatments for life-threatening infections. TRIDENT draws on the scientific synergy between LKCMedicine, NCID and A*STAR, which will enable groundbreaking research in infectious diseases.”
Professor Benjamin Seet, NHG Deputy Group CEO (Education and Research) said, “COVID-19 is a stark reminder of our vulnerability to pathogens. While the pandemic as a global public health emergency is over, we continue to grapple with variants. At the same time, we face age-old challenges such as dengue, respiratory infections and tuberculosis, and have to deal with the rise of AMR. TRIDENT is a targeted programme that seeks to address pertinent gaps in our knowledge and ability to manage these challenges. It combines the clinical expertise at NCID, with the scientific and technological strengths of A*STAR and NTU, to find new and better ways to combat infectious diseases.”
Professor David Lye, NCID Director, Infectious Disease Research and Training Office, and Chairman of TRIDENT’s Management Committee said, “The TRIDENT programme aspires to seed good ideas that can be developed into nationally and internationally funded competitive projects in infectious disease areas of national strategic importance. It is our contribution to developing the national infectious disease research capacity in preparation for the next major outbreak working on significant infectious disease challenges that are already here with us, such as AMR, respiratory infections like influenza and vector-borne infections like dengue.”
Professor Lisa Ng, Executive Director, A*STAR’s Biomedical Research Council and A*STAR Infectious Diseases Labs added, “TRIDENT leverages the synergistic capabilities and expertise from the partner institutions to deliver excellent science for the identified priority disease areas. This collaborative endeavour will enhance our understanding of the biological underpinnings of these disease areas and open innovative avenues for novel therapeutics. In doing so, TRIDENT will facilitate Singapore’s resilience against future global infectious disease outbreaks.”
With a better understanding of various infectious diseases and the pathogens which caused them, TRIDENT strives to offer scientific evidence that underpins novel and enhanced interventions, leading to more effective prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases.