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Staying Ahead of the Race

Editor’s Letter

Viruses – small, subcellular agents that require a host to multiply. Are they alive or are they biological chemicals? Whatever they are, these microscopic parasites are a part of our world and we learn how to exist with them.

Infecting all forms of life, viruses play a key role in natural selection. One example is the evolution of virulent myxoma virus resistance among rabbits via natural selection during the viral epidemic that curbed rabbit populations. In this evolutionary arms race, how do viruses shape ecosystems, and how can we use the tools we have today to outmanoeuvre them?

In this issue, we explore the theme of “Virology” and consider the role they play in our environment and how we can deal with them in the years to come.

Firstly, we dive into the world of marine viruses with Vanessa Lunardi as she shares with us how these microscopic agents direct life in the ocean and how they could potentially contribute to climate change.

Next, Dr Sunny Himansu, Associate Director of Infectious Diseases at Moderna, talks about the Nipah virus, its presence in Southeast Asia, and how Moderna is working to develop a Nipah virus mRNA vaccine.

Closer to home, Junghun Justin Kim, Country Manager at Takeda Singapore, discusses the issue of dengue—a disease that has seen a three-fold increase in Singapore this year—and how we can best manage it.

For research highlights, learn how the identification of a protein could help prevent future disease outbreaks in plants, how we may harness energy from saltwater, and how researchers can artificially construct a cell using bacteria!

Carmen Chan