New Singapore obstetrics and gynaecology research network established

December 20, 2020

Singapore's three public hospitals offering maternity services - KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and the National University Hospital (NUH), have established a collaborative research network, Singapore Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research Network (SORN), to better synergise and promote high quality translational research. The aim is to improve health outcomes of future generations of women, children and families in Singapore.

Established in July 2020, SORN is the first obstetrics and gynaecology research network in Singapore, and was mooted by KKH, SGH, and NUH. The inaugural Chair at SORN is Professor Jerry Chan, Senior Consultant, Department of Reproductive Medicine, KKH, and Senior National Medical Research Council Clinician Scientist. He explains the need for SORN, "Under the SingHealth Duke-NUS OBGYN Academic Clinical Programme1, KKH and SGH have been exchanging ideas and sharing resources to excel in academic medicine through research, education and clinical work. With NUH, the network is complete to take research and multi-centre trials to a higher level. SORN is unified towards improving health outcomes nationally, for women, children and their families."

The network aims to achieve national-level goals to create more opportunities for multicentre clinical trials, enhance access to research grants, and facilitate high-impact research findings that can improve clinical practices, as well as enable the translation of research findings into clinical practice. Under SORN, KKH, SGH and NUH are working together on research in COVID-19, and common yet severe obstetrics and gynaecology conditions such as atypical endometrial hyperplasia (an overgrowth of abnormal cells causing a precancerous condition) and pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy).

Associate Professor Yong Tze Tein, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, SGH, said, "SGH's O&G department always places the priority of our patients first. We are constantly looking for innovative ways to better our patient care. This new network will further enhance the research work we do, which forms the cornerstone of the department's work. It will provide evidence on how to improve our current models of care, build on our strengths and make a difference to future generations of women and their families."

Associate Professor Mahesh Choolani, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, NUH, and Group Chief for Obstetrics & Gynaecology, National University Health System, said: "Over the years, NUH, KKH and SGH have each developed deep capabilities in obstetrics and gynaecology. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us all closer, capitalising on each other's strengths to look after women and children during this period. It is timely now for us to bring our individual strengths together and adopt a collaborative approach to advance translational research and find novel solutions for the pressing issues in obstetrics and gynaecology faced by women, children and families, as well as strengthen the obstetrics and gynaecology ecosystem in Singapore."

First research involving pregnant women with COVID-19 in Singapore

The first milestone achieved by SORN is the publication of a research involving 16 pregnant women with COVID-19 in Singapore2. Through this study, SORN members set out to evaluate the outcomes in this group of women to determine risk factors for severe maternal disease and mother-to-baby infection in the womb due to global concerns over mother-to-baby transmission of COVID-19.

Recently published in the journal Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, the study tracked the clinical course and outcomes of 16 pregnant women from 23 to 36 years of age, infected with COVID-19 in all three trimesters of pregnancy, between 15 March 2020 and 22 August 2020. The study results were reassuring. The authors of the study concluded that while most pregnant women with COVID-19 were mildly infected, severe COVID-19 could occur in older pregnant women with high body mass index (BMI). All infected patients in the study made a full recovery. This demonstrates that the incidence and severity of COVID-19 among pregnant women parallels general population trends, and that the majority of patients will recover from COVID-19. The study also found no evidence of vertical transmission of COVID-19 from mother to baby in this group of patients.

In summary, among 16 patients seen at all four public healthcare institutions - KKH, SGH, NUH, and National Centre for Infectious Diseases: As the joint senior author of the study, Professor Jerry Chan and co-authors are glad that their findings are reassuring, and show no vertical transmission between mother and baby, and that pregnant women with COVID-19 recover well. The low number of pregnant women infected with COVID-19 is reflective of the low community transmission rate in Singapore, thanks to government measures against COVID-19. However, communities with higher transmission rates may report more aggressive disease progression in pregnant women. To some extent, this suggests that severe complications and deaths in pregnant women reflect the effectiveness of community containment.

This COVID-19 study is an example of how generations of women and families in Singapore will benefit from SORN's future work, and results. As COVID-19 is expected to continue beyond this year, healthcare professionals providing maternity care will need to continue to maintain vigilance in managing labour and delivery. Therefore, members of SORN will continue to study evolving maternal risk factors, severe infection, and mother-to-baby infection in the womb, related to COVID-19.
-end-
1 Clinicians from KKH and SGH are part of the SingHealth Duke-NUS OBGYN Academic Clinical Programme which aims to be a leading academic medical centre of excellence in Obstetrics and Gynaecology through clinical initiatives, education, research and collaboration to improve women's health and well-being.

2 Mattar et al., Pregnancy outcomes in COVID-19: A prospective cohort study in Singapore. Annals Academy of Medicine Singapore 2020;49(11):857-869. https://doi.org/10.47102/annals-acadmedsg.2020437

SingHealth

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.