Johnson & Johnson announced the launch of the new J&J Satellite Center for Global Health Discovery (satellite center) at Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School, jointly established by Duke University and the National University of Singapore (NUS) as a graduate-entry medical school and research facility.
As the first of the J&J Centers for Global Health Discovery (J&J Centers) in the Asia-Pacific region, the satellite center at Duke-NUS aims to help drive new solutions to address flaviviruses, which disproportionately impact communities across the region, by bringing together the talent and expertise of the world’s largest healthcare company with that of an academic institution.
The launch of the newest Satellite Center at Duke-NUS comes at a critical time. More than 400 million people are infected with flaviviruses each year and half of the global population is at risk, with Asia experiencing nearly three-quarters of the global burden. A warming planet means that billions more people could be impacted in the coming decades as the animal vectors that carry flaviviruses spread beyond the tropical regions where they have traditionally thrived.
Flaviviruses, like dengue and Zika, cause significant illness and death, yet no specific antiviral therapeutics are currently available. The frequency of dengue outbreaks has grown considerably over the past two decades, as evidenced by surges in places like Singapore. After experiencing its worst outbreak in history in 2020, Singapore is facing another major outbreak this year with more than 8,000 cases recorded in the first six months of 2022, exceeding the number of cases reported in the whole of 2021.
“Singapore is one of the epicenters of the dengue threat as well as a leading innovation and research hub, making Duke-NUS a natural match for our vision to address flaviviruses by advancing innovative science,” said Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Global Public Health R&D at Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “Together, we can each leverage our unique strengths to translate action in the lab into solutions at the last mile that can help protect people against one of the world’s most significant and rising health threats.”