NOTICE PAPER NO. 959
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 14 FEBRUARY 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Murali Pillai
MP for Bukit Batok
Question No. 2452
To ask the Minister for Health in light of the recent developments on the transplant of animal organs in humans, whether the Ministry will consider establishing a framework to deal with medical ethical issues arising from such transplants in Singapore.
Locally, there have been no cases where animal organs have been used for human transplantation. This is a form of xenotransplantation, which is currently not regarded as standard treatment internationally.
There remain multiple barriers to the clinical application of xenotransplantation, such as graft rejections and risk of infections from donor animals. As it is still considered experimental, xenotransplantation, if done locally, should only be done in the context of pre-clinical or clinical studies, until there is robust evidence supporting its long-term safety and clinical efficacy.
As there may be social and ethical issues involved, should such research on xenotransplantation be carried out locally, it must adhere to existing ethical safeguards for the conduct of clinical studies, such as the requirement for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.
MOH will monitor developments overseas, and study the need for additional governance as well as the attendant socio-ethical concerns, should the procedure be considered for approval in Singapore.