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Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore ; 50(8):619-628, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1391356


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world for more than a year, with multiple waves of infections resulting in morbidity, mortality and disruption to the economy and society. Response measures employed to control it have generally been effective but are unlikely to be sustainable over the long term. METHODS: We examined the evidence for a vaccine-driven COVID-19 exit strategy including academic papers, governmental reports and epidemiological data, and discuss the shift from the current pandemic footing to an endemic approach similar to influenza and other respiratory infectious diseases. RESULTS: A desired endemic state is characterised by a baseline prevalence of infections with a generally mild disease profile that can be sustainably managed by the healthcare system, together with the resumption of near normalcy in human activities. Such an endemic state is attainable for COVID-19 given the promising data around vaccine efficacy, although uncertainty remains around vaccine immunity escape in emergent variants of concern. Maintenance of non-pharmaceutical interventions remains crucial until high vaccination coverage is attained to avoid runaway outbreaks. It may also be worthwhile to de-escalate measures in phases, before standing down most measures for an endemic state. If a variant that substantially evades immunity emerges, it will need to be managed akin to a new disease threat, with pandemic preparedness and response plans. CONCLUSION: An endemic state for COVID-19, characterised by sustainable disease control measures, is likely attainable through vaccination.

Annals Academy of Medicine Singapore ; 49(10):764-778, 2020.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-955159


As of 27 October 2020, there have been 57,980 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Singapore, with 28 fatalities. To summarise the Singapore experience in managing and containing COVID-19 based on available published data and from relevant sources, a review of literature using research databases such as PubMed and OVID Medline, along with non-peer-reviewed articles and other sources, was conducted with the search terms 'COVID-19' and 'Singapore'. Research conducted in Singapore has provided insight into the clinical manifestations and period of infectivity of COVID-19, demonstrated evidence of pre-symptomatic transmission, linked infection clusters using serological tools, and highlighted aspects of hospital-based environmental contamination. It has also provided guidance for diagnostic testing and has described immune and virologic correlates with disease severity. Evidence of effectiveness of containment measures such as early border control, rigorous contact training, and calibrated social distancing measures have also been demonstrated. Singapore's multipronged strategy has been largely successful at containing COVID-19 and minimising fatalities, but the risk of re-emergence is high.