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Singapore, Switzerland co-op in fighting hand-foot-mouth disease

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  • Singapore, Switzerland co-op in fighting hand-foot-mouth disease


    Singapore, Switzerland co-op in fighting hand-foot-mouth disease 2009-04-03 15:26:48

    SINGAPORE, April 3 (Xinhua) -- Research companies from Singapore and Switzerland have pledged to work together to develop fully human monoclonal antibodies to fight hand-foot-mouth disease, an official statement said on Friday.

    Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) and Swiss company Cytos Biotechnology Ltd (Cytos) have agreed to collaborate in research for combating and managing the Enterovirus 71 (EV71), one of the two most common viruses responsible for hand-foot-mouth disease in Singapore, according to a statement by Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

    Hand-foot-mouth disease is an infection most seen in young children in which characteristic fluid-filled blisters appear on the hands, feet, and inside the mouth. There is currently no specific treatment available for hand-foot-mouth disease.

    Under the two-year agreement, SIgN will provide the immunological expertise required for the research, while Cytos will share with SIgN its proprietary technology for the isolation of fully human monoclonal antibodies. This collaboration could significantly cut down the time needed to develop such targeted antibodies, and could accelerate the process of finding effective treatment approaches for hand-foot-mouth disease.

    The A*STAR said that the collaborative research is especially timely for Singapore, which has seen seasonal outbreaks of this highly infectious disease.

    Singapore reported 3,302 hand-foot-mouth disease cases from January to March 14 this year, up 20 percent over the same period last year, and 88 percent of cases so far this year involved children aged 12 and below, while eight percent were adults aged 21 years and above.