Linfa Wang
Director, GVN Center of Excellence
GVN SARS-CoV-2 Task Force Member
Director of the Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases
Professor, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore

Bio sketch
Professor Linfa Wang, PhD is the Director of the Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School. His research group studies the bat’s innate defense mechanisms to understand their ability to live long and co-exist with viruses largely free of clinical diseases.  His other major research focus is to develop novel molecular and serological platforms for discovery-driven diagnosis of infections with unknown etiology. Professor Wang’s work has been recognized internationally through various international awards, numerous invited speeches at major international conferences and many top scientific publications, along with five patents and many invited book chapters. He holds a number of honorary positions and memberships and has received numerous awards. He is also active internationally by serving on various editorial boards for publication in the areas of virology, microbiology and infectious diseases. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Virology Journal.

Subject: Role of Serology in the Next Phase of COVID-19 Investigation and Response

Abstract: With more than 6 million infections and more than 300,000 deaths (as of end of May 2020), the current COVID-19 pandemic has led to large scale lockdown around the world to prevent further spread of the disease.

From the initial effort of rapid diagnosis and containment, the international community is now facing the challenge of an effective and pragmatic “exit” strategy to balance the public health risk versus the huge economic losses as a result of the travel ban and lockdown measures globally.

Among the many challenges of ongoing COVID-19 investigation and response, the following three stand out as the most pressing: 1) A good understanding of protective immunity and longevity of immunity to better advise/design “exit” strategy and policy; 2) Rapid development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine(s) and a reliable testing platform capable of assessing and monitoring vaccine efficacy en masse; and 3) Investigation of virus origin and the early animal-to-human transmission events to prevent future outbreaks.

Serology will play a key role in all three areas. In this presentation, different serological platforms currently used for COVID-19 testing will be reviewed and compared together with the introduction of a novel platform, the surrogate virus neutralization test (sVNT), that we have developed recently.