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Turn of a Decade

The beginning of the new decade has presented itself to be a challenging one. With the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) the epicentre of the virus redirected from China to the European region and now potentially to the United States. Many cities now on lockdown and tighter measures in place to ensure minimal social contact. On top of the healthcare challenges governments also struggle to keep the economy afloat particularly for the self-employed and small businesses.

To keep human interactions down to the minimum, working from home is now becoming the new norm. This period has been a litmus test for companies and their capabilities for business continuity during times of crisis. Businesses who are able to leverage on cloud and telecommuting technologies for their employees to function effectively even from home are able to stand strong during this time.

Keeping in line with our recurring theme of covering different perspectives on COVID-19 is our cover story of the month of April, by Dr. Vivian Wong and Dr. Chris Chan from The University of Hong Kong. Their article provides a comprehensive overview on the perspectives on the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the treatment of COVID-19. (p. 30)

Within the features section we also bring you exclusive interviews with Gilead Sciences on the use of remdesivir against COVID-19 (p.26) and artificial intelligence technology leveraged by Deargen Inc. to screen drugs that could potentially cure patients with COVID-19. (p.22) Last but not least, we feature and interview with Dr William A. Haseltine as he sheds light on the key lessons and priorities of governments for the COVID-19 global pandemic so far. (p.36)

Switching gears to chronic disease, specifically peripheral artery disease, we bring to you once again from insights Professor Tan Huay Cheem on the disastrous impact the chronic disease can have on patients. (p.12)

We are also honoured to have for the Game Changer of the month of April 2020 – TurtleTreeLabs. Established in Singapore, the start-up is paving the way for greener and sustainable options for our milk sources. (p.18)

In the Spotlights section of April, we have a summary by our contributing writer Michelle Tan from a panel discussion – Digitalising Primary Care: Here and Now – held at the SFFxSWITCH conference in 2019. (p.40)

During this trying time, we hope to continue to deliver regular updates in the fields of science and technology from Asia Pacific as well as bring to light the global issues that impact our daily lives. At this juncture we would like to extend our gratitude to all the healthcare workers, scientists, medical technologists, and anyone who have been working tirelessly to care for patients affected by COVID-19 and those who have contributed their efforts to reducing the spread. Let us all also do our part by proactively practicing good hygiene and social distancing, together we can flatten the curve!

Deborah Emmanuel Seah Qing En