Southeast Asia initiative to combat SARS-CoV-2 variants (SEACOVARIANTS)


  • Prof Susanna Dunachie

    University of Oxford, United Kingdom

  • Dr Juthathip Mongkolsapaya

    University of Oxford, United Kingdom

  • Dr Chee Wah Tan

  • Dr Narisara Chantratita

    Mahidol University, Thailand

  • Mr Vu Thanh

    University of Oxford, United Kingdom

  • Prof David Stuart

    University of Oxford, United Kingdom

  • Dr Raph Hamers

    University of Oxford, United Kingdom

  • Le Van Tan

    Oxford Clinical Research Unit - Vietnam, Vietnam

Project summary

Southeast Asia (SEA) represents a weakness in global COVID-19 pandemic response because many countries do not have the required capacity to conduct advanced analysis to determine the potential threat of SARS-CoV-2 variants. Our aim is to develop and apply a multidisciplinary research platform for rapid assessment of the biological significance of SARS-CoV-2 variants, thereby supporting local policy makers with evidence-based decision. We will deliver our proposal through four Objectives: - Establish a new SEA research platform that supports locally-led investigations evaluating the biology of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. - Employ state-of-the art structural biology to provide rapid prediction of the ability of new variants to evade host immunity and drugs. - Evaluate the impact of circulating variants of concern on antibody and T-cell responses in SEA populations, and the clinical consequences of infection. - Create a framework for effective communication and engagement with policy makers and the public concerning new virus variants and their potential to threaten public health. Our proposal will be delivered by the Vietnam and Thailand Wellcome Africa Asia Programmes, bringing together a multidisciplinary team in SEA (Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), the UK and the USA. It will strengthen regional scientific capacity that can be rapidly deployed for future outbreak responses.