THE next phase in Singapore's biomedical push is to reach out and work with regional countries in, for instance, the treatment of infectious diseases.
The aim is to develop Singapore into a hub for research and education in cross-border diseases.
Chairman of the National Research Foundation Dr Tony Tan said this at the opening of the National Healthcare Group Annual Scientific Congress, held at Raffles City Convention Centre on Saturday.
He said the foundation will work with the Biomedical Science Executive Committee and various partners to do so.
Citing Sars and bird flu as examples, Dr Tan said the main lesson learnt was that these are 'trans-border diseases and that no country can tackle them on its own'.
With cheaper air travel, infectious diseases like Sars can be spread all over the world in a matter of days, he said.
'Close collaboration and cooperation among countries is the key to successfully contain such infectious disease outbreaks, which besides causing death and suffering, can have a severe impact on economies and societies,' he said.
He added that Singapore has some experience and expertise in research on infectious diseases.
For instance, basic research in areas covering viral, bacterial and parasitical diseases is currently conducted in the universities, research institutes and the National University Hospital.
Clinical research is being done in various government hospitals. Also, companies here conduct research, to develop drugs, diagnostic kits and vaccines.
The Health Ministry has also committed $4.2 million to develop new tools to diagnose the diseases. In addition, consortiums have been established to develop Singapore's research capabilities.
Read the full report in Monday's edition of The Straits Times.