The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) is proud to present the MOSTI Strategic Research Fund by the Agensi Pelaksana dan Pemantau National Institutes of Biotechnology Malaysia (SRF-APP). The SRF-APP is a research grant that presents an exciting opportunity for new developments in biotechnology to be showcased to potential businesses and investors both locally and internationally, with a particular focus on medical research and development.
Universiti Malaya has three successful applicants for the SRF-APP grant, all of whom are from the Tropical Infectious Diseases Research and Education Centre (TIDREC).
Professor Dr. Sazaly Abu Bakar, TIDREC, in collaboration with the Malaysia Genome Institute and Malaysian Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals
Title: “Development of Next-Generation Dengue Vaccine: Oral Vaccine for Dengue (ORAVAD)”
Prof. Dr. Sazaly has been developing a next-generation dengue vaccine that can be orally taken. Dengue has been a major public health problem in Malaysia and with the country’s rise in ageing populations, the disease will become even more of a threat. Current dengue vaccines are not yet marketed for widespread use due to targeting a limited population and potentially causing immune response imbalances. For Muslim-majority countries such as Malaysia, there is also a demand for vaccines to be shariah-compliant. Dr. Sazaly’s new second-generation vaccine is designed to be outbreak-targeted, stereotype-specific, locally-specific, easily delivered, cost-effective, halal and safe.
Grant allocation: RM 3,240,800
Dr. Lee Hai Yen, TIDREC, in collaboration with the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA, Malaysia Genome Institute and Malaysian Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals Lifesciences Sdn Bhd
Title: “Development of Vaccines Using mRNA Technology Targeting Neglected Tropical Disease (DEVARNA)”
Dr. Lee is developing a new means of vaccine development using mRNA technology. The conventional approach for vaccine development generally takes a long time to reach authorized usage, with an estimation of 15 years at the most. mRNA technology will not only hasten this development cycle but will also provide a better means of combatting parasitic diseases such as hookworm.
Grant allocation: RM 3,375,000
Dr. Nurhafiza binti Zainal, TIDREC
Title: “Susceptibility of recovered COVID-19 patients and COVID-19vaccinated individuals to severe manifestation of COVID-19: Genetic predisposition, cross-reactive immunity, and antibody-dependent enhancement (LONG TERM OUTCOMES AND GENETICS: LONGTONG)”
Dr. Nurhafiza is developing a gene panel for Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) severity risk prediction which will be used for better clinical management of an individual with a higher risk of severe COVID-19, reflecting the actual application of prognostic and preventive medicine in combatting this disease. This project aims to address why certain individuals within the young and healthy population have succumbed to this disease, highlighting factors that potentially affect COVID-19 susceptibility such as genetic predisposition, cross-reactive immunity and antibody-dependent enhancement.
Grant allocation: RM 2,306,504