Temasek Review 2021

Rising Above COVID-19

For over a year now, Temasek has been very active in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

BYOB initiative
Singapore residents collecting free hand sanitiser from vending machines with their own clean recycled bottles

Amid resurgences from more infectious new variants, we remain ready to lend a helping hand, knowing no one is safe till everyone is safe. We adapt to new challenges and work closely with Temasek Foundation to enhance the Stay Prepared initiatives for protecting people from the virus as best as we can.

Our Stay Prepared initiatives are centred on five areas: testing & diagnosis, containment & contact tracing, care & treatment, protection & prevention, and enablement.

To support overseas communities, Temasek Foundation provided some 40 countries essential medical supplies. In Singapore, we launched initiatives such as masks and sanitiser distribution exercises.

Testing & Diagnosis

We helped to pilot COVID-19 screenings as our economy reopened.

Improving Mass COVID-19 Screening Capacities

We supported eight companies, including those from the construction and marine engineering sectors, to pilot Oneself-Swab-Oneself or OSO, for their own regular employee screenings. About 350 of their staff volunteered to be trained to do the nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal plus mid-turbinate swab techniques. This OSO programme provided operational flexibility and efficiency to the companies, and enhanced Singapore’s nationwide swabbing capacities and build community resilience.

Volunteers from Woh
Volunteers from Woh Hup conducting swab tests on their colleagues

Piloting Pre-event COVID-19 Screening

Temasek Foundation worked with several partners, public and private, to pilot the Antigen Rapid Test (ART) for on-site screenings at MICE events and social gatherings. Pilot trials were conducted at events such as conferences, concerts, sporting events and weddings to assess ART’s utility for pre-event screenings while minimising inconvenience caused to event participants.

Pre-event screening
More than 3,200 Antigen Rapid Tests were done for pilot pre-event screenings over two months from mid-October last year

Collaborating to Improve Testing Capabilities

Temasek Foundation worked with Indonesia’s Eka Hospital for field validation of the ART to provide results in 20 minutes, in comparison against paired Reverse Transcription PCR tests.

The study was successfully completed by Eka Hospital in February. The joint effort expanded the hospital’s COVID-19 screening capabilities while giving researchers valuable data on the sensitivity and specificity of ART kits. This study has helped to guide the use of ART in Singapore to pick up infectious cases early.

A staff member from Indonesia’s Eka Hospital using an ART kit supplied by Temasek Foundation for COVID-19 screening

Containment & Contact Tracing

We pioneered initiatives for safe reopening of activities during the ongoing pandemic.

Providing a Solution for Verifying COVID-19 Health Credentials

Temasek and Affinidi, our digital identity technology company, worked with industry partners and authorities for a universal verifier solution, Unifier, to authenticate COVID-19 vaccination and test results. This interoperable solution covers verifiable health credentials using different standards and formats of QR codes, and allows airlines and immigration authorities to tap into global private and public initiatives to reopen borders safely.

Unifier authenticates travellers’ COVID-19 vaccination and test results, enabling safe cross-border travel

Developing a Contact Tracing Device

Temasek Foundation encouraged D’Crypt, one of our portfolio companies, to develop the BluePass automatic contact tracing device. Over 835,000 devices were deployed, including for residents and staff in migrant worker dormitories. This enables fast tracing of first degree contacts of COVID-19 cases that pop up. It facilitates second or third degree contacts for broader ring fencing of contacts, and may be used to identify potential sources of infection.

BluePass data will be downloaded only when activated by a button on the device

Care & Treatment

Several of our investee companies in our life sciences portfolio pivoted to support COVID-19 efforts.

Developing Antibodies for COVID-19

Vir Biotechnology in the US made an early pivot to work on antibodies to treat COVID-19, whilst others work on using AI to identify existing drugs which could be repurposed or combined to treat COVID-19 at various stages of illness. In Singapore, our investee company, Tychan, has proprietary technologies that enable rapid design and development of antibody therapeutics for infectious diseases. Tychan developed a candidate antibody for COVID-19 within four months and conducted a Phase One safety trial with healthy volunteers in Singapore. A Phase Three efficacy trial is ongoing to determine the antibody’s effectiveness in reducing disease severity and/or shortening recovery time. The antibody, alongside existing vaccines and antiviral drugs, is potentially a valuable tool in the fight against COVID-19.

Tychan laboratory scientist
Working to scale up production of a COVID-19 candidate antibody at Tychan

Protection & Prevention

We continued to keep people safe with a nationwide distribution of hand sanitiser and increased efforts to raise public awareness of Singapore’s vaccination drive.

Providing Hand Sanitisers

Temasek Foundation’s #BYOBclean initiative enabled Singapore households to collect 500ml of zero alcohol hand sanitisers. The first exercise last year benefited over 600,000 households. The second exercise this year saw the use of vending machines to dispense 115,000 litres of hand sanitiser. It was the first time that vending machines were used to dilute the sanitiser concentrate precisely, and automatically dispense the ready-to-use hand sanitiser into reusable bottles that residents brought along.

Collecting hand sanitiser
Residents collecting hand sanitiser from vending machines

Raising Awareness on Vaccines

Temasek Foundation launched a public awareness campaign to educate the public on COVID-19 vaccinations. Media platforms such as newspapers and TV as well as social media platforms were used to encourage our residents to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their community. Our series of public service announcements and campaign to provide timely information and evidence-based assurance, underscore our commitment to protect people during the pandemic.

A television commercial
A television commercial explaining the importance of vaccinations in protecting us and our loved ones


We supported frontliners in their fight against COVID-19, and provided assistance and relief wherever possible to vulnerable communities in and outside of Singapore amid the resurgence of COVID-19.

Supporting Ground-Up Initiatives

Temasek Trust launched the oscar@sg fund to catalyse ground-up projects that reflect the values of Ownership, Sustainability, Care, Assurance, Resilience (OSCAR). To date, the fund has empowered more than 200 projects covering diverse needs and beneficiary groups, and touched over 500,000 lives. Among them is Tak Takut Kids Club by 3Pumpkins, a community space open to children in Boon Lay, a neighbourhood in Singapore. It provides a safe space for children, especially those staying in public rental flats, to express themselves through the arts. Such projects help people and communities emerge stronger together.

Artwork of children
The artwork of children from Tak Takut Kids Club being showcased in This is Me magazine which celebrates individuals from all backgrounds

Airlifting Life-saving Medical Supplies to India

Temasek Foundation joined our portfolio companies Singapore Airlines, Advanced MedTech (AMTH), SATS and Olam International, and other partners including Air India, Amazon India, Kerry Logistics, ACT Grants, Swasth Alliance, The Bajaj Group, Abhay Firodia Group, Star Agri, Thermax Limited, and Pune Platform, to send essential medical supplies to India.

To date, emergency medical supplies airlifted to India, include around 8,200 oxygen concentrators, 1,300 BiPAP positive airway pressure machines, 51,000 oximeters, and 37 AMTH’s ICU-grade Alpha ventilators equipped with remote monitoring and control capabilities, as well as other essential medical supplies.

Medical supplies
Medical supplies being airlifted to India for distribution to hospitals and COVID treatment centres across the country